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I wanted to share about how it’s been going since I got my vegan cookbooks on my Birthday back on October 13.  I started eating vegan that Sunday for dinner, which was October 16, and since that night I’ve been eating 100% vegetarian, and 99% vegan food!  And I’ve really been enjoying it!

I made some sweet spice bread on Friday which had organic fat free vanilla yogurt in it (as opposed to soy yogurt), and therefore it was not vegan.  I’m opposed to going with soy things just for the sake of avoiding dairy or meat though because I don’t think it’s good do load up on soy, and I think a little dairy here and there won’t kill me.  Sunday morning Bryan made migas, and we agreed that he should use eggs rather than substitute in tofu because neither of us like tofu, and I also don’t think eggs are all that bad in moderation.  I also ate a small bag of skittles at the Halloween race thing we went to Sunday afternoon, and I ate 3 doughnut holes at school last week… and who knows what’s in either of those.  Nothing good, I’m sure.  But other than that, ALL VEGAN!

So far I think I’ve lost about 7 pounds.  I didn’t actually weigh myself at the start, but I had weighed myself several weeks before that, and then just weighed myself again yesterday, and I can also feel that my clothes are fitting looser, which confirms that I have lost a little weight.  I have not exercised in months, and eventually I’d like to do that as well, but right now I don’t have time.

Some of the things I’ve been eating:

  • A bowl of cereal for breakfast: a mix of museli, oats, grapenuts, and shredded wheat with sliced kiwi, sliced banana, and sliced grapefruit pieced mixed in (and grapefruit juice squeezed from the pieces into the bowl), topped off with unsweetened almond milk.  This was in my Engine 2 cookbook, and I like it.  It is good.
  • Lunch: I either have leftovers from dinner or an Amy’s vegan frozen meal (which I always LOVE so those are always a treat and I always ate those even before I went vegan).
  • Snacks: I made homemade hummus, and am going to make more.  I’ve eaten that with whole wheat pitas, triscuit crakcers, and cut up carrots and celery sticks.  I have also made large amounts of homemade salsa which is my favorite food in the world… in fact I think it deserves its own bullet point.
  • SALSA.  Fresh homemade salsa is like heaven on earth.  Doesn’t even compare to the crap in the jar at the grocery store.  This stuff is so good, I could sit and eat a bucket full.  Yesterday I made a double recipe of it (2.5 quart bowl was full), and today it is gone already.  We ate it with our migas for breakfast yesterday, we ate it with tacos for dinner last night, I ate it with chips for a snack last night, and I ate it with chips for a snack this afternoon, and now it is gone.  Time to make more! 🙂
Dinners I’ve made so far:
  • Pad Thai
  • Vegetable stir fry with brown rice
  • Melissa’s sweet potato black bean chili (which was good!!)
  • BBQ pizza (which I liked, but Bryan and Talan, not so much)
  • Black bean tacos
  • Jesi’s Indian Dal – delicious
  • french toast – not the best
  • Black beans and rice – AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS – Bryan and I were in heaven it was so good
  • Southwest style Veggie burgers
  • Sweet potato fries
  • Mashed maple sweet potatoes
  • Linguine with alfredo sauce – this was just ok.
  • Pasta primavera – I really liked it, Bryan thought it was good but not his favorite
  • I also made a vegan and oil-free salad dressing that is tasty
  • We’ve had salads with dinner most nights
This week I’m having pasta primavera tomorrow night again (Bryan won’t be home for dinner), and it makes a lot, so it will be good for me to bring into work for lunches as well.  Wednesday we’re having chalupas, and Friday we’re having potato burritos.
Preparing the food takes a long time – lots of cutting up of vegetables mostly.  But the pay-off is so great – eating healthy healthy healthy meals loaded with vegetables and whole grains.  I feel really good.  I don’t feel all sluggish and gross like I had been feeling.  And I haven’t been getting stomach aches like I got a lot when I was eating lots of rich unhealthy foods.
So far, so good!  Bryan’s only eating vegan during the meals when we’re together (which for him averages out to about 4-5 meals per week).  The rest of the time (breakfast, lunch, and a few dinners a week) he eats meat, cheese, whatever.  But at least he’s getting more healthy stuff in as well.  He is sad that he can’t grill out though.  So tonight he’s going to grill a steak for himself while I’m in class.  When I get home I’m having leftover pad thai for dinner.

Here’s a post about step-parenting.

July 2007 - Age 1

One of my motivations for starting a blog was so that I would have a place to talk about the experience of step-parenting.  It can be a pretty isolating experience especially since I don’t have any friends in the same boat as me.  I know there are other step-parents out there since over 50% of all marriages end in divorce, and a lot of those have kids involved, which means when those people remarry, step-parents are created.  But step-parenting is not widely discussed.  The main images our culture is familiar with are: evil step-mothers in fairy tales and Disney movies, or occasionally happily-ever-after step-parenting in sugary sweet movies where the mom or dad dies of cancer and the kids gradually bond with their new step-mom or step-dad and after some difficulties all live happily ever after.  Yeah, right.  But what happens when both parents are still alive and well and the step-parent isn’t evil?  Where’s that story?  It doesn’t exist because nobody wants to talk about it, even though it’s incredibly common now.

June 2007 - age 1

Nobody likes step-parents and nobody wants to acknowledge them.  It’s awkward.  Nobody knows what to say.  “Oh, you’re not his mom?  You’re his step-mom?  Oh, that’s awkward.”  And then what are they thinking?  “You’re not a real mom, then.  You don’t understand.”  Or maybe, “How awful.  You must have broken up a happy family.”  Who knows.  All I know is it’s not a topic people want to talk about.

September 2007 - age 1

I had a dream last night that Bryan and I were sitting next to each other on the couch, and Talan came over, and Bryan placed him on this couch next to himself.  Talan started crying and said he loved both of us and didn’t understand why we always placed him next to Bryan and never next to me.  He crawled over onto my lap and I hugged him and told him I loved him, too, and he could always sit next to both of us, he didn’t always have to just sit next to his dad.

Yeah, that would never happen.  I think sometimes dreams are wishful thinking.

February 2011 - age 5

The reality is that Talan likes me, and he also doesn’t like me.  Just as I like him, but I also don’t like him.  He won’t ever hold my hand.  We make him hold someone’s hand any time we’re in a parking lot or crossing a street, and he’ll go out of his way to hold his dad’s hand, even holding onto Bryan’s sleeve if his hands are full rather than hold my hand.  If I’m alone with Talan, he’ll hold onto my shirt or arm, but will not hold my hand.  I don’t know why.  I haven’t asked him.  It hurts my feelings though.  Yesterday in the car we had to find a parking place, and I suggested to Bryan that he should take Talan and go check in to the race while I parked the car.  Bryan was not sure about this, and Talan piped up and said, “yes, dad, I want to go with you.  I want Stefani to go park the car.”  Another time Bryan needed to go to the store to get some things, and asked Talan if he wanted to come with him, and Talan said, “Why can’t we make Stefani go to the store so I can stay here with you?”  Another time we were driving to go pick up Bryan’s car, and Talan said “Am I going to have to stay in this car with Stefani?”  He says things like this a lot.  He makes it very clear that he doesn’t always want me around.

September 2007 - age 1

At the same time, he does enjoy being with me.  He likes doing things with me.  He has fun spending time with me.  He just doesn’t like me as much as his dad.  But he also doesn’t like his dad as much as his mom.  He makes similarly hurtful comments to Bryan all the time about how he prefers spending time with his mom, and he always makes it clear with his comments that he would always prefer to be at his mom’s house instead of at our house.  So Bryan gets a good share of hurtful comments as well.  The difference is for him that he’s Talan’s dad so he LOVES him like a father.  He has that BOND where no matter how hurtful Talan his, he loves him immensely and Talan loves him, too, since he is his dad.  But where do I fit into that?  I’m not his mom.  I don’t love him like a mom.  He doesn’t love me like a mom.  I’m just Stefani.  I just happen to have been around in his life since he was 14 months old.  I just happen to be married to his dad.

May 2011 - age 5

It’s also very hard because we only have him a limited amount of time – every other weekend basically plus holidays and 4 weeks over the summer.  It’s hard because he’s primarily raised at his mom’s house and I strongly disagree with a lot of the way he is being raised and who he is as a result of his mom being who she is.  It’s frustrating because I know if he WAS my kid, he would be VERY different.  He wouldn’t be used to eating a diet of junk food, candy, and koolaid.  He wouldn’t be used to being spoiled rotten, given a new toy every day, playing violent video games rated for teens, never having to use manners, not having any chores or responsibilities around the house.  Of course we enforce our own rules at our house, but it sometimes feels like bailing out a sinking ship when he just goes back home at the end of the weekend and goes right back to playing those violent video games and running the household.

April 2009 - age 3

I’m also stricter than Bryan is.  Bryan loves his son and wants Talan to be happy and wants Talan to like him, and Bryan also likes to eat candy and junk food, so he like to let Talan eat those things, too.  I on the other hand think that 5 year olds should not be eating candy and junk food, and so if Talan asks me if he can have a piece of candy, my general response if no.  So Saturday he asked, I said no, and he said, “I’ll just go ask my dad then.”  He went and asked Bryan in the next room, Bryan said yes, and I said, “I just told him no.”  So Bryan told Talan no and told him not to do that any more.  Bryan’s good about that.  But it’s still frustrating because Talan knows that I’m more strict so he just asks his dad instead.  It’s just not how I’d raise him if he were mine.  But he’s not.

April 2009 - age 3

I do think that we do a very good job of teaching Talan to be a well-mannered, polite, respectful kid while he’s at our house.  He’s generally very well behaved with us.  and I know that’s a result of us being very strict with him and showing him that he does not rule our house like he does at his mom’s house.  But it’s still frustrating because, for example, with things like the violent video games, he says, “whatever.  I’ll just play it at my mom’s house.”  Makes me want to scream.

May 2009 - age 3

That’s all for now.  It felt good to get all that out.

May 2011 - age 5

By the way, for comparison, and a reminder, here’s what our kitchen looked like a little over a week ago:

Our granite counters are in!  They’ve actually been in for almost a week but I’ve been busy and haven’t had time to post.  I snapped some pictures with my phone, but we’ll have much nicer pictures once all the improvements are completed.

Our counter-tops came with a new stainless steel sink, too, which is awesome since our old sink was looking pretty crappy.

We got a new faucet as well, which is the kind with a pull out nozzle so you can use the faucet as a sprayer as well.  Pretty cool.

In order to save money we did not hire a plumber to re-hook-up our sink plumbing.  We hired youtube instructional videos instead.

Unfortunately, these pictures were actually taken this past Monday, and our sink is still not hooked up.  Ended up being a much more complicated process than we thought.  So Bryan is going to work on it some more this weekend, and hopefully we will be able to use our new kitchen sink (and dishwasher) by the end of this weekend!!

I’m also really looking forward to using our new kitchen for cooking since my 4 new cookbooks arrived in the mail on my Birthday on Thursday!  Perfect timing!  Also, Jesi sent me soup in the mail for my Birthday!  What a neat present – who would have thought you could send soup in the mail from Arizona to NC?  It’s actually dry beans and spices with the recipe for Indian Dahl, and I can’t wait to make it!!!  Just have to have a working sink first so we’ll be able to wash dishes! 🙂

Still working on figuring out a quote for the hardwood floors and removing wallpaper and painting… hopefully this week all that will happen.  I’m so ready to sell and move!

Saturday night Bryan and I went out with Laura and David for an early Birthday celebration for me.  Can’t believe I’m going to be turning 31 this week.  I’m well into my 30s now.  A whole year separated from my 20s.  I’m officially a 30-something.  No longer am I newly 30.  I’m now going to be 31.  Crazy.

So to celebrate we did something crazy.  We went out dancing!  That’s something I hadn’t done since my mid-20’s!  In fact, Bryan and I had never been out dancing at a club together since we’ve been together.  We’d always talked about it, but had never done it.  We met and started dating when I was 26, and several months into our relationship was when I completely lost my desire to “party.”  That desire to go out clubbing, dancing the night away, and drinking long island iced teas just vanished.  And instead I started wanting to go to bed by 10pm and wake up at a reasonable hour on the weekends.  Imagine that.

But a couple of weeks ago, while we were at a Duke football game with Laura and David, we decided to make a go of it, and go out dancing.  This took major planning since none of us were at all familiar with the bar scene any more, so I spent an entire afternoon researching to figure out where we might find good dancing nowadays.

The final plan was that we met up at Lucky B’s at 8:30pm.  Of course no one else was in the bar, and we pretty much had the place entirely to ourselves until 10pm.  But it worked out nicely.  We enjoyed a couple of rounds of drinks while getting to chat without having to yell at each other.  Then at 10:20pm once people actually started showing up at the bars, we walked around the corner to Noir.  Again, no one else was there yet, so we had our pick of tables, and chose a cocktail table to sit at.

We continued to drink and chat until around 11:30 when people finally started to hit the dance floor.  We danced for about an hour, which was fun.  At about 12:30am Laura and David called it a night.  Bryan and I stuck it out for a little while longer and left around 1:00am.

It was fun but I can’t handle it like I used to.  All day today I felt just rotten.  Lazy.  Sick to my stomach.  Tired.  Achey.  Uugh.  But I’m glad we went out.  Maybe we’ll do it again some day 🙂

What happened to our kitchen sink?

What happened to our kitchen counters?

This is how we’re living this weekend.

Yesterday the granite counter guys came out to “measure” and make a template for the granite.  The reason I put “measure” in quotes is because I thought that’s all they were going to do.  But apparently “measuring” also involves completely removing the counters AND the kitchen sink?!

They are coming to install the new counters and new sink on either Monday or Tuesday.  So, until either Monday or Tuesday, we have no kitchen counters and no kitchen sink.  Well, I take that back.  They left one small patch of counter space between the stove and pantry.  Why?  I do not know.  But it’s nice to have the space to put things.

And we do still have a kitchen sink… it’s just not in a usable space.

Here’s our sink:

The backyard is a logical place for it, right?  The granite guys said to keep it back there until they come back since they need the drain cover from it to use in the new sink.  Nice.

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