Stories from 2018 – 06 – The Whole 30 – Looking Back

As I type this, I have four more days left in this journey. As you read this, I will be a week past the Whole 30. I am writing it in advance because I will be in Australia and not sure of my schedule then. 

I spent the last month eating no sugar, no legumes, no dairy, no grains, and a few other nos. I also quit caffeine just to see what the impact would be. This was not about losing weight. It was about resetting after the holidays and getting back into a better cycle. It was also about seeing if I feel better without these foods in my system. And to see if I would have any of the non-scale victories.

Here’s the thing: Net-net, I don’t think I had huge tangible benefits from cutting out these foods. I was more regular and I fell asleep easily both of which were true when I was doing the Body Love book a while back. I haven’t been able to stay asleep this whole month. Hard to tell what that’s due to. My skin was better until I got my period so I am guessing that’s more hormonal. I haven’t gotten a surge of energy but I also started exercising every single day and that might be making me more tired. Not to mention the fact that I quit caffeine. So who knows what’s impacting my energy and my sleep. I have no idea on the weight changes because I didn’t weigh myself at the start and there’s no weighing during the elimination. But nothing was amazingly looser. (Though I wear stretchy clothes so who knows :))

Now, there are a few things I am glad about. Because I tried harder to drink more water, I experimented and really found one i liked finally. I don’t like anything fizzy (except Diet Coke) so I’ve been delighted to find I love the Hint Waters. I’ve now has Watermelon, Pineapple, Peach, Blackberry, Mango/Grapefruit and Blood Orange. My favorite is Pineapple but I also like Watermelon and Blackberry. I like them all actually. They are hard to find but I am lucky to have them at work. 

Another win has been thinking about Worth-it and not-worth-it mentality. I like that and plan to experiment with it. 

The weeks after Whole30 are supposed to be reintroduction period but I am getting on an airplane on January 31 so I am not going to do that this time. If it turns out I still want to do that, I am okay doing another Whole30 at that point. Considering I saw no positives, I don’t expect to be really impacted by a particular food group in an obvious way. But if I feel much worse in Sydney, I don’t mind trying it.

I plan to continue to eat my meals Fat-Fiber-Protein. I plan to eat as many veggies as possible and the veggies first. I also plan to go back to drinking lattes though I might stay caffeine free, that’s still in the air. What I miss most is the ritual of the coffee still. I don’t have many sugar cravings at the moment and I will keep an eye on them because I don’t want to get them back.

I’m glad I did it, it was a good way to show myself how strong I can be but in the end I am also glad it’s over.


Stories from 2018 is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018here.

Stronger Than Before – 06

Weekly Intention:  I will spend part of this week in Sydney working still and then I fly back home on Thursday morning in time for David’s birthday. I intend to go pick him up from school and have a 1-1 day together. Friday my inlaws come and that weekend I have to be at the kids’ school all day for an event and then the next day we celebrate David’s birthday. So it will be a full-to-the-brim week. My intention is to do enough work while I am here that I can feel solid about my trip and then to really focus on my son when I am back.

This month’s intention is: Physically Strong: This is your month. Get out there and get strong. Increase the weights. Add more cardio. Make a plan. You can do this. You have it in you. For now, I’ve taken this to encourage myself to start daily Yoga but I also hope to increase the weights when I am back home.

One way I will stretch this week:  this weekend will stretch my patience.

One boundary I will set this week: thursday will be dedicated to david.

This week, I will focus on pleasing: david as it’s his week!

One new thing I will learn this week: I’m learning more yoga.

One area where I will go deeper this week: Still hoping to plan some of February or at least maybe March at this point. 

What do I need to sit with this week? i need to sit with how I plan to eat now. how to make peace with my body. 

I am looking forward to: seeing my boys again.

This week’s challenges: another 14 hour flight!

Top Goals: 

  • Work: get everything organized/into routine. spend a lot of f2f time.
  • Personal: keep going with the yoga.
  • Family: celebrate David!!

I will focus on my values:

  • Love: love david madly!
  • Learn: Learn how to be patient with people who are so different than I am. How to slow down.
  • Peace: peace with change.
  • Service: this week’s service is going to david. making sure he has a wonderful birthday. and then to jake since he’s working so hard to help me.
  • Gratitude: for my family for my job, for my life.

This week, I want to remember:  that adventures are how i grow!

Stronger Than Before is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

Weekly Reflection 2018 – 05

How I got Stronger this week: This was a weird week because I got on an airplane on Wednesday night and got off the airplane Friday morning in Sydney so I lost a day this week (I get to have it back next week when I fly back.) But even with that, I still exercised everyday that I wasn’t on an airplane. Even while here in the hotel. I’ve also started Yoga while I’m here. I’ve spent time with the kids this week, helping them work. I’ve been doing what needs to be done at work. And I’ve showed up for my husband and my friend.

Top Goals Review:  figured out details. connecting with coworkers. finished whole30 yay! didn’t quit yet. reading a lot. got lunches done and made sheet for jake! woot!

I celebrate: being here in sydney and getting to spend a little time on the beach.

I am grateful for: my husband who is taking care of everything at home, making it possible for me to be here and trust that all is ok.

Karen’s Points: I got full points until the end of January. Now that I am off whole30 and not at home, February hasn’t been as diligent. I plan to restart when I am home.

A Change I embraced:  yoga here in hotel room was fun. 

I let go of:  reacting to the way some interactions have been at work. I’ve just been taking it easy.

Core Desired Feelings Check-in:

  • Fresh: new adventures this week with a weekend alone in sydney.
  • Magical: This week’s magical moment is being so close to the water. it’s my soul place. 
  • Lighter: i am really enjoying the summer in sydney.
  • True: i’ve stayed true to my values and kept mum.

Where I chose Joy: i chose to go to the beach and hear the waves splash. joy joy joy.

I showed up for: my friend, my husband, and my son this week. 

A Mistake I made this week: Nothing wild is coming to my mind at this moment.

What I tolerated this week: a 15-hour flight. a weekend alone. while it’s lovely here it’s also really lonely without my boys. 

My mood this week was: grateful. a bit worried but trying to keep things in perspective.

I forgive myself for: not getting as much done this weekend. I chose to read and relax instead.

What I love right now: I love resting in bed while I am pretty jet lagged.

Weekly Reflection is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

Moments from this Week – 05

Here’s this week’s page. Photos from our San Diego trip and then from our week. I grabbed a postcard from the hotel and added that as well.

On the back of it, I added our movie tickets from our date night.

I love this project!.

Moments from this Week 2018 is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

Books I Read This Week 2018 – 05

Not a lot of reading this week. Partly because my first book dragged on and i wouldn’t quit and partly because the other two were long. 

Happiness for Humans was my first week of the week and it was just too long for what it was. Cute but just not enough.

Grist Mill Road was good. I liked the character development and I liked reading it. Fast and sort of mystery, sort of not. It was like Dennis Lehane books. 

This Could Hurt was a fun read and also sweet and also smart. It was long but I am glad I read it. 

I have travel coming this week so I imagine I will read a bunch then.

Books I Read this Week 2018 is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

On My Mind – 05 – Saying No

Last week I wrote all about saying Yes. Very soon after all those thoughts came to my mind, I also thought about how it was important that I get better at saying No. I am a helpful person by nature and I am also extremely productive so I can easily get myself into a situation where I do the work of 3-4 people. Which isn’t a problem by itself, but it can become one. 

Especially if I sign up for things that are a bad combination for me. For example, one of the volunteer positions I hold for the kids’ school is working with two other parents and coordinating an event that happens three times a year. Partly because I didn’t understand the requirements well and partly because my working style is so wildly different that the other two, this one job has driven me to tears a few times this year already. It takes away energy I don’t have and adds stress that is not worth it. I should quit this job. 

But I can’t. I feel bad because I’ve committed so it feels wrong to walk away before the year is out. I’ve tried to quit a few times and I haven’t been able to do it. But I really should. I will say that I’d committed to some other volunteer position at the kids school which would actually start next year and I did back out of that after my experience here. I just don’t have it in me to commit to two years on something that might turn out to be just as poor a fit for me. I still volunteer a lot at the school. I teach once a week and I am Nathaniel’s class-mom and I organize the snacks for Math Counts. 

None of these things help my kids much but they help me be involved in the school and form connections and appreciate the school more. All of which are good things. But it’s time to say no. This work and especially the stress of this work is getting in the way of actual time I could be spending with my kids or husband or by myself or even working. All of those are more rewarding. 

And I need to learn to say No. I need to understand that I always overfill my life and that’s actually okay (for me.) What’s not ok is not being careful about what I fill it with. Things that suck energy are not allowed. Things that make me cry definitely are not allowed. So I need to learn to say no, I need to learn to quit, I need to learn to let things go.

As I often tell my clients, saying yes to something is saying no to something else (even if that other thing isn’t super visible to you at that moment.) This is also true the other way around. Saying No to something means I am saying Yes to something else and I need to remember this. 

So here’s to saying No more.

On My Mind is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

Stories from 2018 – 05 – Student-led Conferences

In our kids’ school, the mid-term and end-of-year conferences are student led. For the lower school the teachers are there and we also get a 20-min session alone with them and for the middle school, it’s our son and his advisors.

Today was conference day for both of the kids. It was Nathaniel’s first one since he started there this year. And he was very excited to play his part. He got to sit in the teacher’s chair and he told us how he’s been doing. It was wonderful to watch him deliver his results. It’s also wonderful to see the faith he has in his abilities. He’s such a wonderful little kid. And a total rockstar in math.

David’s conference was just as delightful. He has always been so self-aware and has a fantastic sense of who he wants to be. We are so proud of him as he excels in all of his classes and has been giving 110% this year in so many ways. It’s always a delight to listen to his reflections on how he’s been doing.

 We were both so grateful to be there and hear such positive feedback about our kids. We know this might not always be the case and we also know that it’s not something to take for granted. 


Stories from 2018 is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018here.

Stronger Than Before – 05

Weekly Intention:  This week, I leave for Sydney on Wednesday evening. I am sad to leave my family as I am each time and I am excited to see my peers there, as I am each time. This time I get to have a weekend there alone so I am trying to make sure I have some plans to make the weekend worthwhile since I really dislike spending weekends away from my family. So I plan to read a lot, rest a lot, go to the beach and smell the beautiful sea. I plan to walk, I plan to have coffee, I plan to fill my soul all the way up. My intention this week as it always is when in Sydney is to work like mad, connect with the people there, make the trip really, really worthwhile so I get back on the plane completely empty and feel like it was completely worth it.

This month’s intention is: Strong Silent Type: Your challenge this month is to speak less, listen more. How can you influence with fewer words. At work, at home, even in your own head. Pause one more beat before replying. Mute the VC. Wait six seconds. Do what it takes to give this a try. Have been practicing this. February is also this week and its intention is: Physically Strong: This is your month. Get out there and get strong. Increase the weights. Add more cardio. Make a plan. You can do this. You have it in you. I will be starting the month away but when I get back my intention is to increase the weights in Body Pump and at home. While in Sydney, I plan to start Yoga and also maybe I can increase the cardio to 15 mins, we’ll see.

One way I will stretch this week:  I’m going to be learning as much as I can this week.

One boundary I will set this week: I am planning to send an email quitting one of my obligations this week if things work out.

This week, I will focus on pleasing: i suck. nathaniel still didn’t really get a turn.

One new thing I will learn this week: i totally didn’t do either of the things I said i would in the last two weeks. i will only commit to learning more about my work this week. 

One area where I will go deeper this week: depth this week will be some solid journaling in Sydney.

What do I need to sit with this week? i need to sit with some of the changes i agreed to. sit with the discomfort of the unknown. sit with the fear and anxiety and have faith it will turn out okay.

I am looking forward to: the flight. while it’s crazy long, i always seem to enjoy it. 

This week’s challenges: jetlag. staying mum.

Top Goals: 

  • Work: figure out details, connect with coworkers.
  • Personal: finish whole 30. pace myself. journal. read. relax. quit the commitment.
  • Family: get lunches ready. make a sheet for Jake.

I will focus on my values:

  • Love: repeat again since i didn’t do this: i will make a list of my friends and see if i can sprinkle them into my life more.
  • Learn: i will be learning so so much soon.
  • Peace: peace with my trip and leaving my family behind.
  • Service: this week’s service is going to focus on nathaniel. i suck.
  • Gratitude: for getting to travel. for being able to be at home. for all of my life. for all the people in it.

This week, I want to remember:  that it’s ok to walk into the unknown. i have what it takes.

Stronger Than Before is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

Weekly Reflection 2018 – 04

How I got Stronger this week: I exercised every day this week. I went to two body pumps classes. I stretched and rolled, too. I am also still on the Whole 30 and no caffeine. I helped and supported a few people this week and I was there for my kids and my sister’s kids, too. I did something I am pretty scared of at work and it’s going to take a lot of strength to get through it so I am both excited and scared. I showed up for my kids. I spent time taking care of myself and doing things I like and I also spent some quality time with my wonderful husband. I did a lot of shopping for both David and for myself, which is a miracle because I abhor shopping. Very proud of myself. I also went to the dentist and got a mani/pedi. Phew!

Top Goals Review:  did the spreadsheets! presos not in cycle yet but will be soon. kept going with routine. semi-made plans for feb. still not feeling like making art and i will give myself a break. might have found a class for Nathaniel. spent a bunch of time with all my boys.

I celebrate: taking chances.

I am grateful for: a bit of shopping. being done with david’s trip shopping (mostly.) being given an opportunity. people who are all watching out for me and have my back.

Karen’s Points: I got full points everyday except for two where I didn’t floss. Though I’ve been pretty wishy washy on the self-care.

A Change I embraced:  this week was all about embracing change. 

I let go of:  being able to get my way 100% of the time.

Core Desired Feelings Check-in:

  • Fresh: i took some major fresh steps this week. not ready to share yet tho.
  • Magical: This week’s magical moment is the kids’ conferences. oh and finishing calculus with david!
  • Lighter: this week felt lighter too because the kids had no school on Friday.
  • True: i’ve been trying really hard to speak my truth even though it’s scary. especially at work.

Where I chose Joy: i chose joy with both my kids this week where i said Yes! a lot more.

I showed up for: my friend, her son, my nephews, and my sons this week. 

A Mistake I made this week: well i made some decisions this week that i am praying aren’t mistakes. other than that, nothing specific is jumping out at me. (besides my usual yelling and having to apologize daily.)

What I tolerated this week: a lot of unknown. stepping into the unknown. fear of letting others down.

My mood this week was: scared but excited.

I forgive myself for: possibly taking a step that might be harder on my family but something that felt too good to pass up.

What I love right now: i love how i feel so full. like my cup runs over. i am so incredibly grateful. i hope and pray that it sustains.

Weekly Reflection is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

Moments from this Week – 04

Here’s this week’s page. Has some photos from the previous Sunday. Some memories of finally going back to the gym and the beginnings of our three day weekend.

i also have Nathaniel’s school letter this week, too.


And there you go.

Moments from this Week 2018 is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

Books I Read This Week 2018 – 4






It was a long weekend and that meant a lot of books, for me.

The Afterlives was quite an interesting read and even hard to explain. I liked it because it was so very unique. 

I wanted to read Molly’s Game because I’ve been wanting to see the movie and when my library added it to its pile, I figured it would be great to read it first. I liked it.

Green is another interesting book. A coming of age story of a white Jewish boy in a predominantly African American school/neighborhood. It was painful but a good read. 

Tell Me Why was my first time reading Corrigan and I loved it. Essays about ordinary but beautiful life and also sickness and motherhood. 

When Things Fall Apart was my regular fix of Pema. She never disappoints me.

I drove us back from San Diego and had just an hour left in the drive so Wishtree was the best book to tackle since it was only an hour long (at 2x speed.) and it was beautiful. wonderful. lovely.

I am not sure why I picked up The Wife Between Us because I thought it would be one of those mysteries I am so sick of reading but in the end it was not. I liked it quite a bit. There were two twists and I liked both of them. 

The Giver was a reread for the Middle Grade Lit Club I teach. It was even more powerful the second time around. So so so good.

The State of Affairs was for a client and I am glad I read it even though I skipped bits of it since I felt she could have used a better editor. Still a good book.

A good variety this week.

Books I Read this Week 2018 is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

On My Mind – 04 – Saying Yes

As we were enjoying our vacation this weekend, I had this overwhelming thought that I wanted to start saying YES to everything. I don’t really know how to explain this but I am going to try. 

I was looking at my kids and thinking about how they are already halfway (if not more) to leaving our house. They are certainly not little anymore. They are growing up and our time with them is getting more and more precious. And I love them to bits and I have really really good kids. So I just want to say yes to everything they want. Can I have another cookie? Yes. Can I stay up a bit longer tonight? Yes. Would you get this for me? Yes. Can we go to this place? Yes. 

Yes. yes. yes.

I know that sounds crazy. But I am not saying I will say yes to the 400th cookie or that they can stay up all night. My kids are pretty reasonable but every now and then they want the extra cookie. And I just want to say yes. (until it’s a no, which is next week’s discussion.) If I can say yes, if it’s something I can do, I want to do it. I want to support them and make their childhood magical. Not just with cookies, late nights, and things to buy. I know those are superficial and don’t set the right values. But I want to do all of it. All the other things like experiences, time spent working together, time spending playing together, going on adventures, trying new things, whatever it is, if I can say yes, I want to say yes. Yes to life together. Yes to making it magical for you. Yes to us.

This isn’t just for my kids either, I want to do this for my husband, too. These are the people I share my day to day life with and it’s so easy for me to slip into taking them for granted or for us to get lost in the grind of life or it’s easy for me to just default to no. But honestly, it’s just a reflex. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about why not. 

I know this might not make sense to most people. Maybe you think I will spoil my children but I know my kids and I am not afraid of that. I want them to have a million memories of love with me and saying yes is a big part of that. Especially considering my default, it will also be the first step for me to be braver, more magical, more adventurous.

Here’s to saying YES more.

On My Mind is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.