Dugouts and Diapers

Jessica Starr Nichols


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Love Is What You Do

Well, today is Valentine’s Day, and as many of you know, I had set a goal for myself to be back at my wedding weight by today. Well, sadly, I did not make it. According to the scale, I am a mere two pounds away.😭😭😭 I have been rationalizing it by the fact that I am one week away from starting my monthly cycle, and I generally weigh anywhere from 3-5 pounds heavier the week prior. So, in actuality, I probably really did meet my goal! Hahahaha! Hey, whatever you have to tell yourself to keep one foot in front of the other.

Since I did not meet my goal, I am going to take this opportunity on this very special day to write about LOVE.πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

These three….my manclan….my loves, they are everything to me. They support me, encourage me, drive me nuts, give me purpose, bring me to tears, consume my thoughts and prayers, but mostly they love me well.πŸ˜πŸ˜˜πŸ’— Over the last seven months, they have been my constants. We have been one another’s best friends. A lot of changes at once in a person’s life will truly allow you to see people for whom they truly are. These three, they are the real deal!

Adam loves me everyday, but when he chose me, despite my flaws or my past, that was the greatest act of love he could have ever given. He has supported and encouraged me throughout this weight-loss journey. He loves our children and wants what’s best for them and is willing to do anything he can to help them reach their goals. He’s truly the best, and I’m so very thankful that he’s mine.Last week, Adam and I were able to show Banks love by buying him his first car. 😱 It was so emotional and joyful for all of us. I truly believe that the greatest joy as a parent is being able to do very special things for your children. We had been looking at vehicles for a year or more, and I had been praying that God would provide the perfect vehicle at the perfect price, and He never fails! We sacrifice A LOT for Weston and Banks to attend the school they do, and we honestly did not think that being able to purchase a vehicle for Banks would be a reality, but when you work hard and are faithful in saving and giving, God makes a way. It is truly an Ephesians 3:20 (my favorite verse that I pray over my life and family everyday) scenario. Banks is genuinely a good boy who gives 100% to his church, his family, his school, and his sports. He’s respectful and kind and ALWAYS puts others ahead of himself. He endures a lot on a daily basis, and he deserves this gift! He deserves to be loved and to be shown love at its fullest.

My sweet Weston….he is such a lover!!!! He enjoys telling others how much he loves them, gives the BEST hugs, and I hope he never gets tired of giving me kisses (until he gets to be a little older because then it will just be weird).😘 Weston and I got to go on a date last Wednesday. We enjoyed a trip to the grocery store (Weston’s favorite) and dinner together. We did bath time and story time without any interruptions, and before night night prayers, I explained to him how much I love him and how wonderful spending time alone with him was. He didn’t say anything, he just hugged me, and in that moment, my eyes filled with tears and I was so thankful for him. It was that same joy I experienced when we gave Banks his car.

While some people always ask me, “Don’t you want a little girl?” A little girl would be wonderful, but there’s something about boys and how they love their mother. That bond is special! I wouldn’t take anything for my manclan!

We aren’t celebrating extravagantly today, because we are leaving Friday morning for a fun 4-day weekend. We will be touring THE University of Alabama on Friday (Roll Tide!!!) and Birmingham Southern College on Monday. We plan on enjoying the weekend in Birmingham being present with one another, looking toward Banks’ future, and seeing both friends and family that we love. My plan is to take pictures of what I eat on trips like this, and next week, I will write about it and show you that just because you’re out of your element, you can ALWAYS find right choices on a menu! Thank you all for reading my blog, and I pray that each one of you is loved welltoday.πŸ’•

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2017….A Year of Change

Wow! Is 2017 already over? That was quick! This year, for my man clan and me, can best be described as a year of change. It has certainly had its ups and downs, but overall, I would say it was one of our best years yet.

Adam spent the majority of the year doing the job of the general manager at his hotel, and ultimately he was overlooked and passed over for the job. While this news was crushing, he remained faithful, and God gave him a better job with an incredible company, and he didn’t even apply for it. They sought him out! I’m so proud of him and all that he has accomplished professionally this year. He’s truly an inspiration to me, and his faith, patience, and hard work were rewarded in the end. He also led our family spiritually to a new church. This was not easy for me, and I shed many tears, but seeing the spiritual growth in all of us has been incredible. Adam is extremely easy-going, but when he’s passionate about something, you can hear the authority in his voice. I’m thankful for his guidance and most importantly, his love for each of us.❀️

Banks is a 10th grader (I’m still in shock over this!), and Weston is in 4P. The changes in their life were equally as impactful. Banks experienced his first college visit. He has his drivers permit. 😳 He’s taking his first AP class, and I’m happy to report that whatever happens to children from 7th-10th grade has finally worked its way out of his system, I think…Hahaha! Lately, I find myself impressed with his more mature and well-thought decision-making, and he’s truly the best babysitter in the world! He exhibited tremendous character throughout a very humbling football season, and most importantly, he’s grown in his Christian walk over the past six months. We have three more college tours scheduled for the new year, and although these tours make me cry a little, I am truly thrilled to watch Banks grow. He’s a good boy!

Weston goes to school five days a week this year, knows all of the alphabet and what sound each letter makes, and he can count to 50 without messing up. He played his first season of tee ball, absolutely loves to read, and will push a hot wheels car for miles! He found his independence this year. He wants to do everything by himself! He’s an excellent helper and finds joy in helping others. He wants to be just like his big brother and shows that by copying everything Banks says and does. I’m so proud of and thankful for my sweet Weston, and I can’t wait to see how he continues to change and grow.

As for myself, I went back to work full-time, left my family for a week to go on a mission trip, and began my journey to get healthy. My health is, by far, our biggest change. I say “our” because it hasn’t solely affected me. It has changed my whole family. I went from having chest pain, crying all the time, edema, and wearing a size 2XL/22 to exercising 4 days/week, smiling, laughing, losing weight, and currently wearing a size large/14. As I type this, I find myself crying tears of thankfulness. I was sick, and I mean really sick. I’m extremely grateful for my health today. I never want to be unhealthy again! To date, I’ve lost 54 pounds. I did not have weight-loss surgery, nor did I take some magic pill. It was sheer determination and hard work! It was discipline, and I couldn’t have accomplished any of it without the support of my family and my Balance30a family. Walking into that building on July 28, 2017, will go down simultaneously as the hardest and most rewarding day of 2017. It changed my life…It changed my family’s lives!

I fully intend to continue toward my best version of me in 2018. I can’t wait to start the new year by doing Dr.Bart’s 21 Day Cleanse. Have you signed up? If not, there’s still time! I am not sure what Dr. Bart has planned for me this year, but you can be certain that I will give you all the details in my blog posts.

I received The Magnolia Story for Christmas, and I finished reading it last night. I photographed some of Joanna’s words. The top photo perfectly describes what I learned in 2017. “Letting it all go is freeing. I am learning that getting our intentions right simplifies our decisions in life and changes our perspective. And in the end, what it’s all about is thankfulness and contentment.” I let it all go when I cried like a baby in Balance Health Studio that day in July, and I’ve learned through spending more time with my manclan and getting to know a new church family that my perspective has changed, and I am perfectly content and beyond thankful for all the ups and downs of 2017. The bottom photo is how the book ended, and it was clearly my mantra for 2018! “Don’t quit, and don’t give up. The reward is just around the corner. And in times of doubt or times of joy, listen for that still, small voice. Know that God has been there from the beginning-and he will be there until ….The End.” I LOVE IT! I know that 2018 will also haves ups and downs, but I have a Savior that loves me, a husband and children that love me and are healthy, an incredible family, and I’m the healthiest I’ve been in years. So, why give up? Why feel defeated? My plan is to be intentional, thankful, content, aware, and healthy in the new year.

Thank you all so much for reading my blog, and I pray that the new year holds peace and blessings for each and every one of you. Check back next week for my first post about Dr. Bart’s 21 Day Cleanse! Happiest of New Years to you all!πŸ₯‚πŸŽ‰


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A Keto Thanksgiving

Make it through Thanksgiving without cheating on my diet…βœ”οΈ

Go out of town for five days and stay on my diet…βœ”οΈ

I hope everyone else had as wonderful of a Thanksgiving as my family did. We went to Chattanooga to spend the holiday with my brother and his fiancΓ© and her family. It was so relaxing, and it is going down in my book as the best Thanksgiving to date!

The general assumption is that it’s impossible to go out of town and stay on a diet, and you can’t go to a true Southern Thanksgiving without blowing your diet out of the water. WRONG! I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I also knew that I could stay on track with hard work and determination. Dr. Bart had forewarned me that these next two months were going to be the hardest yet. So, mentally, I had been preparing myself to resist temptation. I knew everything I ate in those five days wasn’t going to be organic. So, to ensure I had at least one clean meal each day, I prepped breakfast bowls of organic, free-range scrambled eggs, organic sausage, and organic spinach to eat for breakfast each morning in the hotel room. Hydration was key! I drank only water, just as I have for the past 130 days, approximately 200 ounces each day. That kept things filtered and my downstream track clean and clear. I had also mentally prepared myself to do some intermittent fasting throughout the five days to keep my body in Ketosis.

Jud and Hope’s house was beautiful! The company was amazing, and the food was delicious. Our dinner was served around 6pm. So, I fasted from lunch on Thanksgiving, and when I got hungry, I dug through the Homemade Chex Mix and nibbled on the almonds. I forgot to take a picture of my plate once I fixed it, but I ate turkey, ham, Brussel sprouts, shrimp, half of a baked sweet potato with butter, spinach salad, and one piece of Keto Pumpkin Cheesecake. It was not difficult for me to skip over the potatoes, dressing, cakes, etc… Best of all, I didn’t feel miserable the following morning from overindulging. The hotel had a great gym, and I did my Burst Workouts every other day just as I was scheduled to do. This helped keep my energy level up, because we did a lot of walking over the next few days.

Friday night, Jud and Hope invited our kids to spend the night with them, which freed Adam and I up for a much needed date night. My thoughtful husband had pre-arranged a reservation at a completely organic farm to table restaurant for the two of us. Tupelo Honey Cafe was ADORABLE!!!! Great atmosphere, great service, and outstanding food! They bring you a basket of homemade biscuits with Tupelo honey and homemade jam before your meal…just push the basket to the side. That’s what we did. Adam had pork with a muscadine chutney and Brussel sprouts. I had the flank steak and eggs with hominy and mixed greens. When you order steak and you don’t get a steak knife with your food, you know it’s cooked right. It was tender and juicy and the runny eggs sent this dish over the edge! πŸ˜‹ Best of all, it was totally on the Keto diet!

Now that I’ve tackled Thanksgiving, bring on Christmas!!!! I’m looking forward to more laughter, Phase 10 trash talk, food, fellowship, and family time! Keeping the weight off during the holidays isn’t an exact science or impossible. It’s a mind game. Your either committed or your not. I’m committed, and after losing two more pounds over Thanksgiving (grand total of 44 pounds), I have no doubt that I will be at the 50 pound mark by Christmas! I am so incredibly thankful for this journey and for my health this year! I hope that all my readers had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well. ❀️


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Thanks and Giving

Family, food, a home, a job, clothing, etc…the general list of things for which we are thankful. This year my list is a bit different. The top of my list remains the same with my salvation in Jesus Christ being what I’m most thankful for, but definitely number two on my list is my health. Without my health, I could not be the wife or mother or daughter or sister or friend that God created me to be. I could not be my best version of myself. This journey to great health has only just begun, but I’m incredibly thankful that I am no longer where I was 110 days ago.

Now that I have completed the True Cellular Detox, I will begin the Cellular Vitality Phase. This phase is helping to keep the purified pathways from the detox open, and throughout this phase, my damaged cells from years of living an unhealthy lifestyle will continue to repair themselves. I will continue on the Ketogenic Diet, and my burst workout routine will stay the same.

While I know remaining committed throughout the holidays will be a true test, I’m committed, determined, and ready! As of today, I have lost a total of 40 pounds and 44 5/8 inches. I NEVER want to undo what I’ve worked so hard to accomplish, and I never want to feel the way I felt four months ago!

None of my accomplishments would have been possible without certain people giving their time, talents, gifts, encouragement, and support. The first two pictures are of my Balance 30a family. Yes, I consider them family. From the moment I walked in their doors on July 28, 2017, they opened their hearts to me. I don’t want to play the “poor fat girl card,” but honestly, more times than not, obese people are overlooked, ignored, and frowned upon when they walk into any type of health facility, gym, clothing store, etc… Not at Balance Health Studio! These beautiful souls embraced, loved, and supported me from the moment I walked in the door. They wanted to help me get healthy. Emma and Whitney (both in the top picture) greeted me with a hug and a smile on a day that I was so scared and broken. They have encouraged me throughout this journey, and I was SUPER excited to see them yesterday. The second picture is of THE MAN, Dr. Bart Precourt! I worked with physicians for years, and I’ve never met a doctor that truly wanted his patients to be healthy the way Dr. Bart does. He gave me answers, encouragement, and hope, and for that, I will forever be grateful. My family has given me so much support and encouragement that I am humbled by how blessed I am to call them mine. I have the best parents on earth! They want me to be healthy and love me enough to encourage me and invest in my life. My manclan is beyond words. They have adapted to the Ketogenic Diet without complaint, and they actually feel better themselves. Without my manclan, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Because of the encouragement they have given me, I am able to be a better wife and mother.

As we enter this week of reflecting on what we are thankful for, why not consider your health? Why not be the best version of yourself? The holidays are hard. There are emotional highs and lows, financial strain, gluttony, and a very busy schedule, but there are other options. I am excited to, for the first time in my life, consider what I’m putting in my body and being still in those moments of emotion and allow myself to feel. Utilizing the tools Dr. Bart has given me is going to allow me to be the best version of myself this holiday season.

So to my Balance 30a family, thank you for loving and supporting me. I can never put into words just exactly how grateful I am to know you all. To my parents, you’re everything God instructs a parent to be. You’re loving, caring, and you invest in us. I’m beyond thankful for you both. To my manclan, you are my heart and my strength. The love I have for you three is beyond. Thank you! To all who read my blog, have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Be your best you this week.❀️


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A Huge Thank You

I’m writing this post to say, “thank you” to everyone who has helped support me in raising funds for my upcoming mission trip to Austin, Tx.


To those of you that purchased homemade savory and sweet treats from me during the holidays, thank you. I love to bake, and each item was prayed over and cooked with love. Thanks your kindness and generosity, I was able to raise just under $300 for my trip.


To my precious church family, thank you so much! Whether you chose us to wrap your Christmas gifts, dined with us at our fundraiser meal, donated baked items to our baked goods auction, bid on baked goods, or donated to our recent love offering, your support was monumental. It is a blessing to be part of such a loving and generous church family.

To my family and friends that chose to simply donate money to my trip, I love you all so much, and I’m so thankful for your selfless generosity.

However you chose to give, I’m so incredibly thankful. When God laid this trip on my heart last summer, I knew He would provide, because that’s who He is! It humbles me and leaves me in awe of my God to report that my entire trip (lodging, transportation, and food) is completely paid for through your generosity.

Some have asked specifically what we will be doing. Since we will covet your specific prayers each day, here is our schedule:

Sunday,  June 11- travel day! We will leave Dothan at 5am and arrive in Austin at approximately 8:30pm

Monday, June 12- orientation at the Austin Pregnancy Resource Center in the morning followed by ministering to patients at the center in the afternoon.

Tuesday, June 13- praying and witnessing at Planned Parenthood. This will be an emotionally and spiritually challenging day. We covet your prayers!!!

Wednesday, June 14- working at the APRC in the morning and we will be kicking off their on-campus outreach ministry at the University of Texas-Austin that afternoon

Thursday, June 15- we will be restocking the center and making house calls to those that are without transportation.

Friday, June 16- we will be working with patients at the center in the morning and continuing our on-campus outreach in the afternoon.

I ask you to specifically pray for lives to be changed both spiritually and physically. I ask you to pray that God will use our stories of teen pregnancy, single parenthood, adoption, and infertility to give hope to these ladies in such a hopeless situation. I ask that you also pray for God to grow and change me on this trip. I owe everything to Him, and I want to be my best for Him as well as for my family. 

I’m so thankful for each lady that He has clearly hand-picked for this trip, and I look forward to serving with them as well as my new friends at the Austin Pregnancy Resource Center. Thank you all again for your overwhelming support. I can’t wait to come back and share with you all what awesome things God did in Austin!❀️


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Fall Breakin in the Mountains

There has been so much going on in my family over the past two weeks. So, there is really only one fair way to do this….write two posts😜. To my faithful readers as well as my visitors, check back in tomorrow for another post.One thing my manclan has been begging to do is go camping. So, when you live in a house full of testosterone, you load up the van and head to the great outdoors! We knew Banks had his annual appointment with his pediatric neurologist on October 11, so we began googling campgrounds near Huntsville, and luckily we found Cloudland Canyon State Park. It was only an hour and a half from Huntsville, therefore we knew we could enjoy camping all weekend then load up on Monday morning and head to the doctor’s office before driving back to Dothan. We also knew camping would be an affordable option. There are not many four-day vacations that a family of four can enjoy at just under $100. I grew up camping nearly every weekend of my childhood, but I had never stayed at a campsite like this😳! You park your vehicle and hike about 1/4 mile to your campsite, and the only amenities are a leveled area for your tent and a firepit with a cooking grate over it. The closest comfort station, electricity, and fresh water was about 1/8 mile from our campsite. Now, thankfully, growing up, my mother was the world’s most organized camping wife. So, I learned a lot from her, and I was able to implement many of the same tricks she used, and spending my childhood watching my parents use camp stoves, lanterns, and clotheslines, I had no problem planning meals and organizing each person’s “bath house basket.” For a little TMI, when you are with a group of boys, and the nearest comfort station is 1/8 mile away, you learn to go #1 in the woods and only make that trek to the bath house when necessary. Following a cool night’s sleep in our tents, we spent day 2 hiking. We hiked a total of about 12 miles that day. Although all the waterfalls were dry, the scenery was majestic! I was so proud of Weston and my Chrissy! Weston rode in his stroller as far as the trail would allow, but he hiked a good 4-5 miles, and that’s a long way for his little legs. My Chrissy is part Beagle, part Bassett Hound, and her personality leans more toward a Bassett, but she loved sniffing out the trails, and she was an awesome hiking dog! While Weston preferred to stay on the ground, Banks was a mountain goat! If there was a place to climb, he found it! Have I mentioned that he is in incredible shape! I was planning my funeral at the end of the day, and once we got back to camp, he was still running up and down the side of the mountain with his Go-Pro strapped to him! We spent day three hiking a bit closer to our campsite. We discovered the cutest little bridge, a few very unique trees, as well as a strange bug or two! Day 3 was really special! Adam taught Banks how to make a campfire, and using only an axe, Banks chopped down a dead tree next to our campsite. Like I said, he’s in incredible shape! We had delicious meals the entire time, s’mores each night for Weston, and campfire smooches for my honey and me. 

Monday morning, we woke up with the sun, ate breakfast, packed up, and headed to Huntsville where Banks received an excellent report from his doctor. She even gave him the “go-ahead” to get his permit next summer when he turns 15, as long as he remains seizure-free, which we have total trust in God to keep him healthy.

Quite possibly the best part of the trip was the time we got to spend with Adam’s dad in Hartselle, which is just a hop, skip, and a jump from Huntsville. I am thankful for repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation. I am thankful to know my helpmate felt love. Mostly, I am thankful for over a year of answered prayers! 

To say the least, our fall break was wonderful! We cannot wait to plan our next trip, and anywhere my manclan leads, I will follow!❀️


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Proud Mommy Moments

This week has been filled with many proud mommy moments. Saturday night, Banks attended his first high school homecoming dance. 

He asked his friend from school to be his date, and she graciously accepted. He asked Adam if he would drive them to dinner and the dance in the Mustang, because “it is way cooler than the van.” Hahaha. So, of course, Adam obliged him, because he loves his son. 

Proud mommy moment #1 was due to Banks being an incredible gentleman. He opened the car door, pulled out her chair at dinner, and I was certainly proud of him. Chivalry shows character, class, and a good upbringing. It never goes out of style. Mary Catherine looked stunning, and I’m thankful that Jesus has placed such quality friends in Banks’ life.

Proud mommy moment #2 came Monday night at Banks’ last JV football game. He was has been a captain at the last two JV games. My number one, both on and off the field, has worked so incredibly hard to improve at the sport of football since last season. He spends every spare moment in the backyard running drills and practicing. He has had an incredible season! His talents have been noticed by not only the JV coaches but also by the varsity coaches. Most importantly, he maintained a humble and grateful attitude, giving all the glory to God, and on top of all that, he maintained all A’s and only 1 B while taking as many honors classes as possible. This kid shows more promise at 14 than most people do at 25.

Proud mommy moment #3 also occurred on Monday. When Weston’s teacher brought him to the car, she told me that there was a new student, and Weston took the kid under his wing and invited him to play and sit beside him. His actions also showed incredible character. I am so thankful that Weston showed love to his neighbor. My heart overflows with love for my manclan, and I feel blessed every single day to be the wife of an amazing man and the mother to the two finest young men in the world. πŸ’—

While I realize that all moms think their children are great, I just know that mine are exceptional. We may not have the most money or the finest home or the fanciest car, but none of those things reflect character. Possessing fine character is due to learned behavior, and the character my children have shown makes us the wealthiest family alive in my eyes.