Here We Are

Seven months!  A lot has happened in the seven months since my last update.  Those of you who follow on social media are more informed, but until now, I haven’t been able to find my way back to this blog.

What happened in seven months?  I finished one semester of grad school and started another (now I am finally in my last year!)  At work, we’ve had 3 different performance weekends, eight weeks of summer camp, and have closed out one school year and begun another.  In life, we went to Maine for the first time, we got a puppy(!) and we bought a house!!

It has been hectic.  And different.  And the biggest thing I’ve learned over these seven months is that I am really, really bad with change.  Even all of this good change, filled with cuddly animals and celebration.  I finally feel like I am finding my footing once more, now that we have gotten through the summer.  Minnie, our puppy, is almost six months old.  We are beginning to see glimpses of rational dog behavior, rather than just chaotic puppy (although there is still plenty of that each day!)  Most of the house is unpacked.  It feels a bit more like home.  And I am back to my school year schedule, which is always easier to manage than the summer camp schedule.

I am still trying to figure out our food.  All this change in our lives led to a lot of change in our eating habits, our spending habits, my cooking time…everything.  When I was last present on this blog, I was just finishing up a month-long round of AIP.  I’ll be honest–I more than rushed my re-introductions.  I threw any sense of restraint to the wind and just ate all of the various things I had avoided for thirty days (sweet, sweet eggs were back in the breakfast rotation.)  My very last, 30th day of AIP was actually the day before we moved out of our apartment.  Amidst the hectic move and deep-cleaning that followed, I ate whatever was available.  I am very thankful that I didn’t have much of a reaction to any of the foods added back in.

The biggest effect of my AIP round was that my skin cleared up significantly.  I don’t have a lot of acne, but I have pretty persistant acne around my chin.  Judging as best I can, the triggers for it are likely dairy and sugar.  While I have tried (with varying success) to watch my sugar intake, I am still completely obsessed with all things cheese, ice cream, whipped cream, yogurt, etc.  So I am not making any serious moves to take out dairy yet.  I’ve been rather lax about my skincare routine throughout my life, so I am going to try to be better with cleansing and caring for my skin first.  Perhaps I can find more balance while still keeping dairy in my life.

After further research, I believe that most of my digestive issues (the reason I tried AIP in the first place) stemmed from side effects of my gallbladder removal and from stress.  I am exploring my options for managing both in much better ways than I was last Spring.

I’ve been feeling a little stuck in my food habits lately, so I am refocusing on traditional preparations to liven things up.  I’ve revived my neglected SCOBY to make my own kombucha and I am planning to make a second attempt at raising up a powerful gluten-free sourdough starter.  I’ve got several bags of bones in the freezer, ready to be used in bone broth.  I am also exploring ways of souring and soaking grains to make the nutrients more available.  Frankly, we don’t yet have the food budget to cut all grains out (they are such a cheap way to pad out a meal), so I might as well try to make these foods work better with our digestive systems.  I made a riff on Nourished Kitchen’s baked soaked oatmeal for our breakfasts this week and it has been amazing.  I love the stodginess and comfort of oatmeal.  M is not really a fan.  But this baked oatmeal can be cut in bars and eaten like a cake, so he has enjoyed it as well.

In the same vein of traditional food practices, I am hoping to start fermenting more–M loves sauerkraut and it seems so silly to pay $9 for a quart of it when I can make twice that amount with one $2 head of cabbage.  I am looking at our food budget and trying to come up with a plan that would allow us to invest in more sustainable and ethical meats and animal products.  We’ll see how it goes!  I hope to be back here more frequently!

In the meantime, here are a few photos of the important things (mostly dogs):

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Because it is Friday, here is a picture of Punc in a hat:



She “graduated” from her intermediate obedience class this week!  We may wait a little while before enrolling in the Advanced course.  That aims to test them for the Canine Good Citizenship Certificate, and she’s still a little too young for some of the tests (like sitting still and nicely to be petted).

Introducing: Panda & Punctuation

Well, it’s been a while.  I have many excuses that are actually valid, and a few stories that would secure my time away as the most horrid summer ever.  But, that is all over now, thankfully.  And there were many, many bright spots in this summer.  I met wonderful, inspiring people.  I worked at a job that I love with all my heart.  I learned that I am stronger than I think I am, mentally and physically.  I learned that I can survive committing myself to 7 weeks of eighteen hour days, without a day off, and manage not to kill anyone.  Just barely.

But another bright spot has been two small black and white things that came back with my sister from Maryland.  It is a long story of how she went from getting one puppy to how two ended up spending the last several weeks at our house.  But they’re sweet enough to make up for it.  Panda’s ears earned her her name.  Punc(tuation) began as Blackie, but we wanted to change it.  I, of course, favored alliteration.  The exclamation-point spots on her belly earned her the name, and our shortened nickname ensured that she was suddenly acting like quite the Punk.  But, for now, I leave you with (just a few) pictures.