Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Spring Beginnings and a Bucketlist

Hi friends.
 I already have 5,703 steps and it's not even 7:00 am. Yay for husbands who wake up with me to workout. The sun is supposed to shine today, and the forecast for the weekend looks amazeballs (70 degrees on Sunday. Holla!!). We've been dandy the last few weeks. Enjoying our little chunk of freedom before softball/baseball starts. Jae did decide to do track, so I suppose she's busy with that, but at least she can walk right home afterwards. Also, there's no AAU practice at night, so that's a bonus for her.

Not a whole lot has been happening around here, and I'm kind of okay with that. We've had some lazy weekends with a few plans sprinkled in here and there, but for the most part, we've been able to regroup and relax. I'm looking so forward to full blown spring. I can't wait for fires, Easter break, girls' shopping weekend (woot!!), and many more days outside.

The past few weeks I've been researching this Keto diet. I've been looking for something to kick start this weight loss and also target other things that would be beneficial for me. It's very low carb and no sugar, but higher in fat. I was terrified to start but soon realized it was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. I think that knowing I can't have a lot of the foods I would have normally eaten makes it easier to say no altogether. I feel full all day on much less food. Paired with my Plexus slim and my probiotic, I can safely say that my sleep has been amazing. My depression hasn't reared it's ugly head in awhile. My anxiety is manageable. Brain fog is almost gone. Hanger isn't a thing. It's been quite nice. The cherry on top is that I'm actually losing weight. Down about 6.5 pounds, and it feels so good to know that something is working. I know that's not a lot, but for someone who has been CONSTANTLY gaining for the last two years with some steady stalls in the middle, this literally has been an answer to prayer.

With all that being said...I don't talk about it because I think that this is the only way to be healthy....because it's not. There are millions of ways to eat "right" and lose weight and feel good and yada yada. There are lots of skeptics out there, and I don't blame them. It goes against all of the the things we were ever taught about high fat diets. Know that I have done my research, and am constantly continuing to do so. People are living very sustainably (even on doctor's recommendations) with this way of living with no plans to ever change. Many people in my Facebook groups have talked about going into remission with very serious cancer diagnoses, getting rid of T2 diabetes, and other amazing medical things just by cutting out sugar. (Don't think that I could ever cut out sugar, bread, tortillas, or chips for life though....sorry that can't happen). My plan is to be pretty consistent and strict on it for awhile so that I can see some changes and get rid of the cravings, and then I'll let myself have room to breathe a bit. I don't want to have to say no to things all the time when my friends and family are celebrating or out together. I just want to learn new habits and make sure I'm eating well most of the time. Anyways, enough of that.

I'm also training for a half marathon with my sister in law and my someday sister-in-law. It's completely crazy starting back from square one. I'm only running three minutes at a time, but I'm feeling great about it, and I'm finally running outside. I'm also doing the Siouxperman Triathlon again this year with my friend Dave who is biking and my little buddy Carson who is swimming. I'll be running the 5K. The last time I participated was three years ago with Dan's brothers and their wives. It was super fun and rewarding, so I'm excited to do it again. :)

With all this nice weather in the forecast, I thought it would be appropriate to throw out a spring bucket list. So, without further ado..... here we go.

1. Buy flowers and decorate my house with their beauty.
2. Fires with friends and smores
3. Train and participate in Siouxperman
4. Manage a 10K in practice
5. Blog more
6. Take a photography class
7. Talk Dan into building some raised gardens and plant some yummy things. :)
8. Play in the rain
9. Wake up early on a Saturday or Sunday and watch the sunrise
10. Wear spring colors
11.  Go to baseball/softball games
12. Spring clean
13. Make spring crafts from pinterest
14. Ketofy some yummy lemon desserts
15. Hike at Oak Grove
16. Watch my brother and Hailey graduate
17. Host a spring get together with friends
18. Go to the Tulip Festival
19. Read a book outside on the deck
20. Go geocaching with the kids
21. Write a birthday blog post for the boys
22. Plan a birthday party for each of the boys
23. Listen to music that makes me happy
24. Go garage saling
25. Go barefoot
26. Look for shapes in the clouds

I'm smart enough to know that the likelihood of all of this happening is pretty slim, but there's something about the shift from one season to another that signifies a clean slate. A new beginning. The thrill of making a bucket list even if all of the things don't get crossed off is exciting for me. It gives me something to look forward to. Spring is something I look forward to from the day after Christmas until it's here, but it's also in the middle of the toughest part of the school year. We are getting to the end. Once it gets nice for good, we will lose the focus of our kiddos, and that makes it so hard to teach. Therefore, bucket lists are a necessity for me. I need my list of things to look forward to.

Ending with a few pictures of our happies from the last few weeks!
Found some time to get together at Sfumato!!
PBR (Professional Bull Riding) with the Wolfswinkels
Springifying our toes

Jaedyn attended the Middle School retreat in Dayton last weekend. The theme was "Testify". She's loved it both years, and I think it's had a huge impact on her spiritual growth. :)

Happy Tuesday!! Enjoy this sunshine!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Making History

I can finally see the finish line after a two week stint of crazy. One more day of busy tomorrow, but today....finally a day off. Not a day off to go to an appointment or leave on a trip, but a day to have no where to go. Nothing to check off. No agendas to be had. Splendid indeed.

Last week we were able to witness some history in the making for our amazingly talented Sioux Center Warrior girls. Our family minus Sawyer traveled roughly 24 hours over the span of 3 days to watch our ladies tear it up at the Well. While the ending wasn't what we had anticipated or welcomed, we are proud of our girls nevertheless. If my information is accurate, it's bee 90 years since our girls have made it to the state championship game. In 1927, the first year the Iowa High School Girls Athletic Association was even a thing, our girls made it to the championship and lost 38-37. Last weekend, we took home a 2nd place win again. We are so proud of their tenacity and determination. Watching them on the big screen as they held hands praying a version of an athlete's prayer, I teared up knowing that this week will forever be etched in their memory. 

I can still remember my junior year of high school, when our boys basketball team made it to state. I, alongside many of my friends cozied up at the Embassy Suites, fitting nearly 7-8 girls in one hotel room. Memories of hair braiding, doing make up, making up shenanigans in the bathroom, and lots of laughter were had although the details are fuzzy at best. What I can remember the most is the championship game. Boyden Hull was playing the 1A game first, and their crowd was kitty corner from us. This is when state games were still played at "The Barn". Many of our fans were wearing Boyden Hull shirts, and I can remember cheering them to victory. When the hoopla of their win was over, their crowd took of their Boyden Hull shirts and orange and blue took their place. They cheered us on to our State Championship win as well, and I can remember this feeling of unity that I had never felt before. Here we were, two teams from NW Iowa. Two teams that rival one another in the regular season, coming together to cheer each other on and make our corner of the state proud! To date, this is hands down one of my top five favorite memories from high school. I'm so glad my older kiddos got to experience their first glimpses of state. It's planted some dreams in the heart of my daughter, that's for sure. What a cool experience.

We even got to reunite with some long lost besties on Saturday night after the game. Brent and Ashley were neighbors of ours when we first got married, and I was still in college. They moved away about a year after we moved in, and for many years, we were able to make trips back and forth to see each other, but such is life. Our kids grew up and became more active. We decided that it had been close to three years since we have seen each other without the use of social media, so it was LONG overdue. How I do miss them. 

Anyways, with three days of state, a Friday night in Emmetsburg for show choir, and a Sunday adoptaversary date for my husband and my daughter, we finally parked the van in the garage and decided to let it sit there for awhile. :) That didn't make this week any less hectic, however. This week I had two days of conferences, a band concert and a choir concert to attend. Tomorrow will be Jae's last show choir performance, so today was a day of relaxation. I finished The Shack. (Loved it is an understatement), ate lunch with my hubby, took a bath, and now I get to finally blog for a bit! Loving every moment of this freakishly cold day. However, Spring can come at any moment, please. We are waiting impatiently for you! 

Sioux Center 7th and 8th grade Adrenaline (photo courtesy of  Mel Pottebaum)

10 year Adoptaversary date
Here's to the weekend! Crossing my fingers that the snow misses us COMPLETELY!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Great Wolfswinkel Steak-off

Schedule on any typical day can be as follows:
6:30- Wake up for the day
7:30- Get kids and myself to school
4:30- Run errands
5:15- pick up Jae from practice
5:30-get everyone fed quickly
6:00- Sawyer practice
7:00- Pick up Sawyer from practice, Get Carter to practice
8:15-Pick up Carter from practice, get Jaedyn to other practice
9:30- Pick up Jae from practice
9:30-11:00- dishes, pick up, collapse on the couch exhausted

Our days are chaotic and busy, and I love them most of the time. It reminds me to be thankful that we live in the same town all of our activities are in right now. I'm still able to throw in a load of laundry in between my chauffeuring duties, and I'm blessed to have a husband who is home at night to tag team pick up and drop off schedules, and I know that 10 years from now, I'll be a little sad that these moments are coming to an end, and my kiddos won't need me to do as much for them. So while I'm exhausted, my heart is still full. It just means that we don't get to have as much quality time as we used to when they were younger. Our days are a different busy now. Ones that don't have us all under the same roof as often, so when we can make family night happen, we are all in.

Dan and I had been talking about doing a family "cook off" for Valentine's Day. We don't really buy into the holiday in a couple sort of way, but we love using it as an extra day to show our kiddos how much we love them. However, last week, we got an e-mail saying that Jae had an extra show choir practice, and Carter had basketball practice anyways, so we knew that the evening would be short-lived. Dan e-mailed me on Friday asking if we had plans, and surprisingly we had none!

Dan came home, and we told the boys to get into the truck, so we could pick up Jae. She hopped in the truck, a little baffled at what we were doing. When we told her it was family night, and we were headed to the grocery store to pick up some grub, she rolled her eyes (typical teenager behavior), but then ever so slightly, a small smile curled up on her face, and I knew that she was just as excited as we were, even though by teenager law, she had to pretend like it was ridiculous. So we headed to the store to grab our steaks. We had decided earlier that day that we were going to all do a different steak marinade/rub, cook them all, and cut them up so each of us could try each others. Everybody had to pick their own, help get the ingredients needed for them, and put them together at home.

She's thrilled. I promise. :)

Putting them together was so fun. The kids were very serious about doing it correctly and didn't want to screw them up. Music was blaring, kids were laughing, and I was in my happy place. Dan and I were talking earlier that day, and he was saying how just for a moment the other night, he found himself tearing up at how grateful and happy he was to be right where we were in life. We are busy and our lives are chaotic and full, but we are so grateful to both have jobs that allow us to live in this place. Grateful that our kids are happy and healthy. Thankful that we have amazing family and friends to do life with, and sometimes that is overwhelming in the heart hurts so good kind of way. The little things ARE the big things, and so one free night at home, making supper together, dancing, watching a movie, and laughing was like hitting the jackpot. My family. My heart. My home.

If you are interested in having your own family steak-off, here's the website where we got all of our recipes.


Sunday, January 29, 2017


I love Sundays because they recharge my batteries for the week to come. It's the day on which I practice the most self care in the form of relaxation, reflection, reading, cuddling, writing, and being with my family. Today I took a warm bath, and vowed to finish the book I started about 3 months ago- Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. 

I stayed in there, bubbles to my chin, draining and rewarming the water over and over until finally, I turned the last page. This book really spoke to my soul and had so many parallels to my life over the past few months-really since we moved here. Her words breathed life into the jumbled up thoughts in my head, and she put on paper exactly my sentiments- that life is meant to be shared with your tribe and lived as a marathon, not as a sprint. The world teaches us how to be more efficient, multitask better, be successful, be thinner, be a better parent, really the list goes on, and we buy into it. I buy into it. And I think that a lot of my depression and anxiety stems from this access to everyone else's lives via social media. The temptation to compare our lives to everybody else's is more prominent than ever before, and instead of giving me inspiration to go out and do something with my wild and precious life, it paralyzes me. Too many options. Not enough time. Not enough money. Too many things on the to do list. So many voices being thrown at me, suffocating me and inevitably causing me to shut down and do nothing. 

What a loss for me. For my husband. For my kids. To have a mother that is so preoccupied with doing what the world tells her she "should" do that she forgets that she already knows what she needs to do. Those orders come from within herself. Not from Facebook or Instagram or her friends or her neighbors. Not from the news or a magazine article, but from inside that still voice in her own head. I'm not sure about your voice, but mine is pretty consistent. Be present. Not perfect. Show up right now. Not when the laundry's done or when you're 15 pounds lighter or when the snow is gone. Show up now. Live your life now. Say yes to things that make you happy and things that fill your soul. Say yes to spontaneity and to anything that makes you present, and say no to the things along the way that only benefit the status quo. We have say no to make room for the "yes". Sometimes our biggest accomplishments aren't career related, sometimes success is being true to yourself. Sometimes it is held in the hands of the babies you are raising. It's about connection and relationships and humanity, and remembering that we are all God's babies. That we were put on this earth to love others. It's about realizing that our worth comes from being a child of God and that it has nothing to do with what career path you chose or whether you are a size 2 or what's in your bank account. It's all heart baby.

"It's about realizing that what makes our lives meaningful is not what we accomplish, but how deeply and honestly we connect with the people in our lives, how wholly we give ourselves to the making of a better world, through kindness and courage.....I'm finished hustling for perfect. It didn't deliver what they told me it would." -Shauna Niequist

Today was another day of self-care, but it came in the form of saying yes to my children. To walking outside and breathing the fresh air and watching them hold their own Olympics on the hill their grandpa made. To listening to my middle little say, "You can't call me Carter mom. This is the Olympics. My name is Blaze." To watching my daughter pull my boys on the sled with the four wheeler, and beaming with pride when, standing next to my mom, we both said how she's definitely growing up. But instead of feeling a sting of sadness, my heart swelled with pride. I don't do a lot of things right. Some days I sit on the couch scrolling through my phone, and doing nothing because that is self care for me once in awhile, but I now know that self care comes in many forms.  Last night it looked like dolling myself up and jumping in the car with my husband and six other women, and belting out Def Leppard, Bruno Mars, and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with the Johnny Holm band all night. Friday it looked like a whispered prayer of thanks that Missy and I weren't hurt in a fender bender, and in the next breath pleading with God that all the people in the other four or five cars were alright too. Self care is a great many things. None of them are wrong. All of them have a place. Balance is where I find the most renewal and the most inspiration. I spent the better part of the last few years hiding under my covers and inside my feelings, and that's not the kind of self care that's making me better, so I'm finding alternatives. I'm liking what I'm finding. :) 

Happy Sunday friends!

Thursday, January 19, 2017


Spring in the middle of winter. Basketball tournaments. Family cookie bake offs. Tru TV's Impractical Jokers. Lazy Sundays. Wallyball. Get togethers. Wrestling meets. Sunshine. Good books you can't put down. Harry Potter marathons. The satisfaction of seeing thousands of colors organized into different compartments. Middle of the week dates with my husband. Houses that stay clean for more than five minutes. Nerf gun wars. Listening to my boys giggle and get along. Being the last to let go of a hug. Littles that cuddle up next to me on the couch. Listening to my kids make up ideas for things we can do as a family. Snow days....I mean ice days. Board games. Puzzles. Making plans for winter so that you have something to look forward to. Googling vacation homes to dream up plans for summer. Thursday nights with my girls. Fireplaces. Finding enough change in the nooks and crannies of my car to get a peppermint mocha from the McDonald's drive through. Declaring Sunday nights- Appetizer Sundays. Watching play off games and cheering for a team that's not yours because yours didn't make it. Listening to my middle little talk football with his dad and realizing just how much knowledge about the subject he has. Watching my daughter turn into a lady. Fresh from the dryer laundry. Initiating my baby into the "Four Eyes Club". Realizing January is more than half over.

Making good on my goals of taking care of myself. Definitely taking it in baby steps. I'm starting with being grateful. Loving my tribe. Giving myself grace. Finding happy moments in stressful situations. One of my best friends, whom I love and adore and very much trust more than most people, introduced me to a few supplements that she thought would target/help with my depression and anxiety. I've been taking them for about three and a half weeks now, and I'm already noticing so much. My anxiety is decreasing. I'm feeling a lot more of my emotions as opposed to shutting down. I have more energy to get through the day. No more falling asleep at 7:00 when I'm relaxing with my family. I'm sleeping better. I don't feel like I'm retaining much water. I used to be hungry all.the.time. Now I feel satisfied during the majority of the day and usually only eat when it's time for a meal. Weekends are difficult still, but overall I'm noticing a lot of positive changes which have trickled into other parts of my life more than I thought it would.

This time of the year is hard. My regular anxiety and depression usually get compounded by Seasonal Depression, but I'm not noticing the sting so badly. I guess the biggest thing I notice is that life is more colorful again. That may seem like a weird observation, but if you are one that has suffered from any form of depression, you will understand that in the darkest parts of this disease, life just loses its color. Everything seems dark and dreary and gray. When that weight is lifted a bit, color starts to seep in through the cracks. I've missed that.

Obviously, it's nowhere near perfect, but I'm taking all that I can and running with it. These are my happies, and the fact that I can see them clearly--and in the middle of January nonetheless, is more than I could ask for.

Happy Thursday friends! One more day til the weekend. Woot Woot!!