Dugouts and Diapers

Jessica Starr Nichols

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When Nothing is New, Just Dream

So, for the first time since beginning my blog and for someone that is never short on words, I have nothing to report this week. Everything is going fine. In order to not think about food, twenty hours of intermittent fasting per day leaves one with a lot of time to occupy their mind. Hahahaha! I find myself dreaming of a future for my family and myself during these times.

My husband is in management for a worldwide hotel brand, and I browse their app everyday for hotel deals all over the world and dream about the days when my manclan and I will be able to go and enjoy these destinations. I’m so humbled and grateful for the opportunities that his occupation allows us to experience at an affordable rate. The picture above is the view from one of his company’s hotels in Zurich, Switzerland.❀️✈️

I also find myself browsing a real estate app quite often. We are not in the market to purchase a new home, but I love looking. I gravitate toward “fixer-uppers” and old homes that need complete renovations. I even follow a page called “Cheap Old Houses” on Instagram and tag my husband in the comments of certain homes that really grab my attention.🀣🀣🀣 We completely renovated our home 5 years ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed the process. We did all the work ourselves, and it was a great experience. I would definitely be up for another renovation project!πŸ”¨πŸ”§πŸ’°

I even dream about just the right person reading my blog someday and offering me a job as a full-time blogger. It would thrill my soul to wake up in a hotel in a foreign country or in the renovated bedroom of one of my “cheap old house” finds and rather than getting ready to go to a traditional job, I would wake up and blog each day. I love to write, and it would be a dream job.πŸ™πŸ»πŸ€©

I think dreaming is lovely, and most of my dreams are certainly attainable. I’m just waiting on God’s timing and provision. Adam and I began the Dave Ramsey Plan a few weeks ago, and while it is INTENSE, it will certainly make many of our dreams come to fruition in a shorter period of time.

Some may think dreaming is silly. I think it’s wonderful, and I don’t understand life without goals. So, keep dreaming! I even encourage you to come up with a plan to make your dreams a reality and pray about your dreams. God knows your heart and your desires. He has a plan! For the remaining 3 hours of my work day, my mind will likely drift to travels far away and fireplaces from the 1800s 😍. What are your dreams????


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Spring Break Should Never End

I took last week off to spend some much-needed time with my family. It was wonderful! It did my heart good. We usually go on a big vacation at spring break, but since Adam has only been with his new company for six months and because we purchased Banks a car, that wasn’t an option this year. Thankfully, we live a mere 90 miles from Panama City Beach, and my parents had the entire family at their condo to enjoy some quality time together.

This was the morning and evening view from my bedroom, and it was breathtaking! We had two glorious days on my dad’s boat. He even let Banks drive the boat!

The time spent with my manclan, parents, and siblings was a treasure! My body hated leaving them so badly, it broke out into hives…seriously, I got home and eight hours later I had hives from my neck to my toes. I spent three days taking cold showers, drinking tons of water, and rubbing aloe on my body. It was not something I ever want to experience again, but I learned my lesson…next time I will just stay at the beach!πŸ˜‰πŸ–

Apparently one day this week was National Sibling Day. So, here are a few more pictures of my siblings and me and my children from our trip. I’m thankful for siblings that are funny, kind, and my oldest and truest friends. Now, it is well-known that no one can aggravate you like your sibling, but there’s also no one else that will have your back like them either. I’m extremely grateful that despite our differences, we love one another, and I’m beyond thankful that my Banks loves sweet Weston like he does and that Weston adores and admires Banks.

Both boys got a very special invitation to be a part of their Uncle Jud’s wedding this fall! It took Weston a little time and watching a YouTube video to figure out just exactly what a ring bearer does to get on board. At first, he thought he was going to be getting married, and he was NOT happy about that! He told his Aunt Hope, “No, I’m not marrying you!!!”πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Once we got the role of ring-bearer understood, he was very interested in his very important job. Banks was so thrilled to be a groomsman that he told me on the way home from the beach that he was trying to keep his excitement low-key and that he really hoped that when he gets married some day his Uncle Jud will want to be his groomsman too!😭😭😘❀️ We all love Jud and Hope and are so excited to celebrate their wedding later this year.Our trip wouldn’t have been complete without spending a day or two at Balance 30A! My mom and I went to yoga class with my sweet friend Whitney. It was beautiful! It was perfect! My heart was soaring! The love these people have for others has been life-changing for me. I was so proud of myself for being able to complete the class. It wasn’t easy, and every pose may not have been perfect, but I did it, and I enjoyed it! I wish I lived there so I could go everyday! Banks went with me for my checkup with Dr. Bart, and he got to meet the man, the myth, the legend….THE Dr. Bob! Dr. Bob certainly knows an animal lover when he sees one…..he and Banks cuddled on the floor the entire visit.❀️🐢 My appointment went well. I had an InBody Analysis done, and the changes on the inside of my body are extraordinary! Since my first InBody back in November, I’ve lost 30 lbs, 3% body fat, and my BMI has dropped 6 points! Dr. Bart put it best…he said, ” You’re a completely different person than you were when you first walked through that door.” He’s right! I am different, and in every way. I’ve learned so much about my physical, spiritual, and mental health. I just feel great, and when I stop and realize I’m not finished yet, I’m astounded!

As far as my regiment and routine for the next 30 days goes, I will of course continue eating Keto with intermittent fasting. This week and next week I’m fasting 18 hours each day with one feast day, and I will say, there is a big difference between the 16 and 18 hour fasting times! I find myself looking at the clock to be able to eat. It’s hard, BUT on Wednesday nights, I’m so flipping excited for feast day on Thursday, I can already taste those eggs and spinach the next morning! I am also doing The Brain Phase portion of True Cellular Detox again. This is to rid my brain of the remaining toxins that weren’t able to make their way out the first time. This is very common, and I can already tell a difference in my mental clarity and the “Brian fog” has definitely lifted. As far as my exercise goes, I am continuing to do Yoga With Adrienne on YouTube. She has another 30 day program called TRUE. I’m loving it. I can see progress there too. This week, I discovered that I can finally hop from plank and downward dog to forward fold!πŸŽ‰ It’s certainly more intense, and she gives you a word or thought to meditate on each day. Day 2 was most impactful with the word “Trust”. My family is definitely entering a time where we can’t do anything but trust God, and I’m so thankful for reassurance of with Whom my trust lies. I’m also trusting that I will reach my goals on this health journey. πŸ’•

So, while I cherished my time off and wish it hadn’t ended, I am TRUSTING that just as lovely times await me and the ones I love. Thanks for reading, and I hope your Spring Break was as great as mine!

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Faith and Fitness

As this weekend represents the foundation of the Christian faith, I want to explain how my journey over the last eight months wouldn’t have made it past one day without help from God.

This morning I completed Day 30 of 30 Days of Yoga With Adriene! Whoop whoopπŸŽ‰πŸ§˜β€β™€οΈ! I have seen tremendous results this month. This month I lost 10 pounds and dropped 12 5/8 inches. Now, all of that cannot be attributed to just doing yoga. I finally have the understanding of intermittent fasting, and I truly believe not varying from my Ketogenic Diet and powering through intermittent fasting each day (I’m currently at 16 hours of fasting per day) have definitely contributed to a month of fantastic results. I’m going to celebrate my results by spending some time with my family at the beach and attending my friend Whitney’s Vinyasa Yoga class Saturday morning at Balance 30A followed by an appointment with THE Dr. Bart Precourt on Monday morning. I can’t wait! I’m so excited! If you don’t understand the excitement, you clearly haven’t visited Balance before!πŸ’•

When I began this journey eight months ago, I knew that the changes didn’t need to be solely physical. I wanted to be healthy, and physical health is non-existent without mental and spiritual health. I will confidently say these changes are far more difficult than choosing to eat clean and exercise daily. Spiritual changes require you to reprogram yourself to do the opposite what actually comes natural to us as humans. HuhπŸ€¦πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ????

As a Christian, I am set apart. I am held to a different standard through my attitude and actions. In Galatians, we are given a list of “fruits” or characteristics ALL Christians should be known by, meaning when a non-Christian encounters us, they should be able to know we possess something they don’t because of these characteristics. As I was studying these characteristics back in July, I fell to the brutal truth that I didn’t exude very many of these fruits. Eye-opener😳!!!! I began praying for these attributes daily. I wanted to love everyone from every walk of life without passing judgement or trying to understand why they do what they do. I just wanted to share a smile and show love. I wanted to be joyful again. I wanted to be excited for each and every new day and find joy in the small things. Peace and contentment in the place God has me and my family everyday was important for a positive mindset. Patience, boy did I need a big dose of this one! As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a definite Type A personality, and I like a plan and I like for it to be followed right then! So, I’ve been praying for patience with others as well as with this health journey, because becoming healthy certainly doesn’t happen overnight! Kindness, goodness, and faithfulness are ones that I didn’t necessarily struggle with all that much, because anyone that knows me knows I will go above and beyond for others. I definitely possess the gift of helping, and I love performing acts of goodness and kindness for others. The only problem was, I was so busy doing for others that I had forgotten to be kind and good to myself, which is how I ended up at nearly 300 lbs and miserable. Because of all I lived through as a single mom, I genuinely remain faithful. Heck, faith is all that got me through my twenties. Hahahahaha! Gentleness and self-control were certainly two fruits that anyone that met me prior to July would never have seen. Because of growing up in a very direct and matter of fact family not to mention living a life of learning from the hard knocks rather than being rescued, I was rough around the edges. I therefore said things matter of factly, disregarding how it came across or made those on the receiving end feel. I possessed no self-control. I said, did, and ate whatever I wanted. I still pray every single day multiple times a day for these two fruits in particular. I constantly ask forgiveness for anyone I may have hurt through the years. You know, it’s like the old saying goes, “Hurt people, hurt people.” I was hurt from years of failures, wrongdoings from others, a hard life, etc… and so, in return, I hurt people. I still feel shame for many of my attitudes and actions. But there’s good news…All of that shame and wrongdoings were taken care of on the cross✝️. This weekend we celebrate a man, my Lord, dying innocently on a cross for me and all my wrongdoings and shame. Man, what a gift! He didn’t just die though, He rose from the grave displaying the fact that as a Christian, I have the promise of life after death in Heaven with Him. I truly can’t wait! My faith is the most important thing in my life. It’s the foundation of my marriage. It’s where I find my instructions for parenting, and it is what I have leaned upon in order to become the best version of myself. I’m thankful for the cross, and I’m thankful for a God that loves me despite my failures. I can’t wait for a weekend of celebrating my Savior with a family that has loved me as He does, and I can’t wait to see how my faith continues to grow through this journey. I can’t wait to be my best version of me!

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How Do You Know If You Haven’t Tried???

This week has been wonderful! It began with a trip to Balance 30A on Tuesday afternoon with my sweet mom. THE Dr. Bart Precourt shared his knowledge of the KETO diet with a room FULL of people. The wisdom gained from this workshop is invaluable. I’ve been eating KETO for nearly eight months now, but I still learned so much, especially in the area of intermittent fasting.

In a effort to avoid distraction, I didn’t take any pictures while at the workshop. On our way home, my mom and I talked about all the things I should have taken pictures of for my blogπŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ. At the end of the workshop we tested our blood sugar and ketones, for those that were already on a KETO diet. My blood sugar was 73, and I was super pumped that my ketone reading was 1.6! What does that mean???? It means I was in ketosis and burning fat!!!!!! Whoop whoop!!!!! Burn baby burn!πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯Thank you to everyone for all of the yoga mat recommendations. After much research on every mat mentioned, I decided on the 5mm Lululemon Reversible Mat. What a difference a mat makes! WOW! I love this bad boy, and I’ve already dropped sweat on it. Today I completed Day 15 of 30 Days of Yoga With Adriene. Today was tough! It’s certainly getting more difficult. My abs hurt when I laugh, and my booty hurts when I walk, and even my quads burn a little when I sit down. My form is certainly not perfect, especially in this photo of myself in Warrior 3, but like Adriene reassures me in her videos, I will get there. I know one thing, I was certainly feeling the burn in this photo (Photo creds to my sweet husband). I am so thankful I gave yoga πŸ§˜β€β™€οΈ another try. So many times we give up on something after one bad experience. My mom teaches yoga here in town, and when I’m off of work for my kids’ spring break, I’m going to give her 5:30am class a shot! She’s just as encouraging and kind as Adriene. So, I know I will love her class too.πŸ’•I am going to end this post with this beautiful reminder that my loves at Balance 30A had on the chalkboard. It was especially for me. I needed the reminder that The One that created me makes no mistakes, and He has been with me throughout this entire journey. To top it all off, there were stars drawn all around the message, and for those that don’t know, my middle name is Starr (yes, with 2 r’s), therefore stars are very special to me.βœ¨πŸŒŸβ­οΈπŸ’« You are also wonderfully designed! So, I encourage you to not give up, keep going, and give something that may not have been such a great experience the first time another try. After all, “Every accomplishment starts with the decision to TRY.”

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Is It Spring Break Yet???

For those of you that have walked this journey with me for the last seven months, you know I have been very open and honest every step of the way. Well, here’s where I’m at…I’m exhausted! I want to spend one day curled up in my pjs, eating a big bowl of cheese grits, and watch a marathon of The Real Housewives. There it is…the raw truth!

When I started this blog, I named it Dugouts and Diapers because that’s where I was in life, always at the ballpark watching my then 10 year old play baseball while finding an empty bleacher or picnic table to change my infant’s diaper. Life wasn’t busy nor was it hard. I just thought it was. Today, today is busy and hard. Juggling working full time, one playing high school baseball, the other playing tee ball (and of course all of their games and practices are on the same nights), church, college tours, ACT tests, school dances, a husband, and there’s a dog and a home to maintain in all of that too….I’m flat out exhausted!

Now somewhere in all this chaos and tag-teaming children, I’m supposed to find time to exercise 6 days a week. Honestly, it hasn’t happened until yesterday in the past two weeks. Yes, I can tell a difference. Yes, I know I have to find the time to do it. But here’s my question, when???? What do I push to the side in order to find the time to do this? If I spend that time away from my family, that’s wrong, because they are my priority. If I don’t do my chores at home each day in order to spend the time exercising, that’s no good, because if you know me, you know I can’t function nor sleep if my house isn’t clean. I’m truly not making excuses. I literally do not sit down from the time I wake up at 5:30am until 9pm. Then once I sit down, I fall asleep within ten minutes, because I’m so exhausted. For example, last night I sat down at 8:40pm and was asleep in my chair by 8:45pm.

I’ve read trainers and fitness gurus say, “you make time for what you want to do, and if you want to exercise and lose weight, you will make time for it.” I’m not hating, but I’m convinced that these people A.) Don’t have children, B.) Have a Nanny, babysitter, housekeeper, yard man, or all 4, or C.) Hold exercising and working out as an idol in their life and are putting it above both their family and God.

I’m truly not saying that to ruffle anyone’s feathers. I’m just being real. I have requested the entire week of spring break off of work, and I’m devoting that week to rest, relaxation, time with manclan, and figuring out how to DO IT ALL. πŸ€ͺ

I apologize for the very raw post, but I wouldn’t be true to myself or to my readers if I were anything less. On the plus side, the weather is amazing here, and I spent time gardening this weekend, which is my most favorite thing to do, and my husband exercised with me yesterday. We went on a wonderful jog/walk.😍 Although I haven’t had much time to stay on track with my exercise, I haven’t gained any weight. I’ve remained diligent at eating Keto and consistent with intermittent fasting. The scale is still trending downward, but not exercising regularly, definitely slows the pace. I know I will find my stride again soon. I’m just convinced motherhood and baseball season aren’t for the weak! πŸ˜‰

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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’•


Onward and Upward

Well, I did it! I finished Dr. Bart’s 21 DayCleanse. Last Saturday, I drove down to Balance 30A with my manclan, and I had my post-cleanse InBody Analysis. This machine is incredible. It measures your height, weight, itra and extra-cellular water weight, skeletal muscle mass, BMI, visceral fat, and much more. According to the InBody machine, I lost just over 7 pounds over the twenty-one days, dropped one percent body fat, and most importantly, cleansed my gut! As a means of celebration, my manclan and I enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Chiringos on beautiful Grayton Beach. Everything on the menu is organic, grass-fed, and wild caught. I still had two days remaining on the cleanse. So, I opted for the Quinoa And Veggie Bowl with a piece of blackened fish on top, and it was the best meal I had in the entire 21 days! Hahahaha! It was filled with brussel sprouts (one of my new favorite veggies), arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. I literally turned the bowl up and drank whatever juices from the veggies and fish were left. πŸ˜‹

We had the most wonderful day together. Sometimes the quick trips are the best! Yesterday was the final day of the cleanse, and I had a phone consult with Dr. Bart to discuss the plan for my next 60 days. During these two months, we are focusing on regulating hormones. I will be taking three different Standard Process supplements: Wheat Germ Oil, Chaste Tree, and Symplex F. I will also return to eating a Keto diet, focusing particularly on keeping carbs low, good fats high, and getting enough fiber through plenty of veggies. I will also be upping my exercise routine from every other day to six days a week. Now, I’m not talking about spending hours in a gym everyday, because that’s not my cup of tea. I’m merely looking to get my heart rate up for a good 15-20 minutes. The goal is to burn fat and build lean muscle. I will also continue with my intermittent fasting, which I’m going for my first twelve hour fast today. I had a shake with avocado, spinach, and blueberries this morning at 6am and will eat supper tonight around 6pm. Intermittent fasting is excellent for burning fat, and it helps you enter into Ketosis more quickly.

I’m excited for these next 60 days! I’m already seeing huge changes in my appearance and definitely in my clothes, and I can’t wait to see what changes occur over the next two months. I have some personal goals I would like to reach- lose at least 15 more pounds (that would put me under what I weighed when I got married), get into the cute size 12 white jeans my mom gave me, and start running again. The last one is very important to me! I used to love running. It’s so freeing, and I love being outside. I ran for the first time in 4 years today, and it wasn’t pretty, but I did it! I was only able to run for 11 minutes without stopping, but it was a starting point. I really love all the changes this journey has brought. I find myself dreaming about the end result. My amazon cart is full of swimsuit options and clothes and scrubs in smaller sizes. I love that my skin is clear, eyes are bright, and everywhere I go, people can’t believe the changes. God uses those things to encourage me to keep going. When I stop and think about the fact that I’ve completed a 100 Day Cleanse on the cellular level (True Cellular Detox), made it through the holidays while actually LOSING weight, began my year with another cleanse, and now I’m on to the next phase, which is regulating my hormones, it blows my mind! I’m so humbled and grateful! In case you haven’t figured it out, this isn’t about being skinny for me. It’s about being healthy. There’s a difference! My visit to Balance 30A on July 28,2017, changed my life, that’s for sure! Thanks for reading and check back next week to see how everything is going, including the running.❀️