January is a month to endure in my opinion. It’s the dead of winter and, for me, four straight weeks of work with no break. In Nederland, the weather has been very grey, very windy and very wet. I think there was only one day of full sun and just a hand full of days when the sun appeared at all. The temps were a bit milder this year, but with the intermittent rain and strong winds at times it’s still not pleasant to be outside very much. My work days are an endurance of either frustration or boredom or both. Blah. 😝

e would not be traveling or attending any events, I decided that January would be the perfect time to do a food reset and focus on healthy eating. I read It Starts with Food just before the holidays and began mentally preparing for a Whole30 program. I convinced Dick to do it with me and he read up on it as we went along. And . . . WE DID IT! We successfully completed the first 30 days of the program on January 31. It was quite an experience and we’re both happy with the results so far. Our eating habits have greatly improved, we feel the benefits and yes, we lost some lbs. I did A LOT of cooking to cover three meals a day every day, but it was good to have things planned out, food shopped and prepped more efficiently and fun to try new recipes. We have the benefit of a big outdoor Saturday market close by (and almost every town has one during the week) and a friendly butcher in our town with locally sourced meat. We were also able to locate organic and sugar-free products in our local supermarkets. I prepped veggies on the weekends and made soups or chilis that stretched over one evening meal and two to three lunches. With just a few exceptions, the recipes I tried were really good and we ate really well. We’ll bring back some of the foods we missed (grains, dairy, wine, etc), but we’re committed to our new eating habits. Dick and I both like to get our exercise outside and it’s been challenging to be consistent with that in yucky weather. We’ve been able to get in some long walks during dry periods. Dick was on the bike a couple of times and I started doing a circuit of indoor exercises a couple of times a week.

It’s not like we only had good food to look forward to this month. The arrival of a grand baby 👶 was much anticipated! All that blah stuff went to the background on January 22 when Jasmine sent me a text saying that she was having contractions. The 6 hr time difference made monitoring the progress interesting, but I had the pleasure of getting the birth announcement just as I was waking up at 6am! Emma Catherine Singer made her debut just before the clock struck midnight EST on January 22 (funny to think it was the 23rd here). January suddenly got very exciting! I’m very happy to be an Oma. Pictures and videos of this sweetie are holding me over until I can cuddle her on Feb 10th. I can’t wait!!! I think there will be less enduring and more savoring (or attempting to) from here forward. There are just four months remaining in this expat adventure and we want to make the most of it. We have lots left to do! 😀