Whole 30 Part 2- Day 15

For those of you who have seen me post about it, but haven’t heard of the Whole 30, it is basically “a short-term nutritional reset, designed to help you put an end to unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, and balance your immune system.” All good things, right?

Whole 30 is basically super strict Paleo. We did our first Whole 30 about a year ago (though only had a 27 day window between Stephen being out of town and going to my brother’s wedding, so did a Whole 27), and it couldn’t have been that bad or we probably wouldn’t be doing it again.


This time, my eating/drinking habits were a little worse just before we began (Starbucks 2x per week? Heck yes) and so the withdrawal symptoms (headache, fatigue) that are often associated with elimination style diets were a bit more pronounced this go round. I definitely felt the cravings this time, and missed my beloved Cinnamon Dolce Lattes that accompanied our story time trips. And then Starbucks had the audacity to drop the Toasted Graham Latte like two days after we started as a temptation of total non-compliance. Don’t worry TGL, I’m coming for you on October 21. Coffee is allowed on Whole 30, but I’m not man enough to drink it black. Adding coconut milk and cinnamon helps, but not enough that I actually have desire to drink it.

I’m going to come clean with you guys. We have one cheat in this Whole 30. I can not justify paying twice as much money for half as much bacon just because it was cured. With the large amount of bacon we consume on this diet, we would go broke, I’d have to get a job and 80% of my paychecks would go to day care for my kid and the other 20% just to bacon. We decided ahead of starting that this was one compromise that we both agreed to after careful consideration. However, if you are looking for compliant bacon, it is available at Whole Foods (I couldn’t find any at our normal grocery store).

Today is Day 15, which means we’re halfway there. Here are a few essentials that are helping to make this time successful:

  • eggs (get the huge 60 pack at Costco, it’s much cheaper than the grocery store and you’ll eat eggs pretty much daily)
  • La Croix water – because sometimes you want something other than normal water and with some fizz. Our current favorites are the La Croix Curate in Pineapple Strawberry, Cherry Lime and Apple Berry. These are at our local grocery store. Costco also has a 24 pack of the normal lemon, lime and grapefruit flavors for about $7.50.
  • Sweet potatoes: for breakfast, lunch, dinner, any time. The last time we did this, we didn’t eat many starches and Stephen felt a significant loss of strength in his Crossfit workouts. We upped our sweet potato intake and he PR’d his clean and jerk two days ago. Definitely a plus for us.

A few of our favorite meals:

  • burgers – wrapped in lettuce with tomato and pickles (check those labels, if you like the Claussen pickles {which are frankly, the best} only the spears and halves do not have high fructose corn syrup, yet for some reason the whole pickles and sandwich slices do) – served with sweet potato fries
  • zoodles & meat sauce – Costco sells a marinara sauce that has no added sugar (you’d be surprised how hard this is to find) and I just love my Vegetti for spiralizing zucchini.
  • this pork chile verde recipe – good with cauliflower rice and especially good smothering burgers and sweet potato fries or on eggs
  • stir fry with cauliflower rice – with no soy sauce, I season with salt, pepper, onion power and garlic powder, and squeeze fresh lemon juice on the chicken and veggies.
  • Not a meal, but I’m totally digging green tea steeped in coconut milk (I use our milk frother to heat/foam it)

There are lots of great resources online for recipes (watch out for Pinterest if you don’t want to be shown pages of tasty temptation on your way to healthy recipes), but often we just keep it simple with grilled or roasted chicken and veggies. If we catch a good sale, I’ll grab a steak and serve that with veggies. It doesn’t have to be hard, but absolutely does require forethought. There is no “I’ll just grab something on the way home” and no making Top Ramen because you don’t feel like cooking. You’ll cook all three meals most days (or more, smaller meals) and you’ll do all the dishes in your house multiple times a day.

Eating out is pretty hard. Our go-to place is Chipotle. Most of the time you’re going to feel like this:


But at Chipotle, you can get a salad, with carnitas (the other meats are cooked in rice bean oil), salsas (not including the corn salsa as corn is considered a grain), guacamole (if you’re not allergic like I am). It’s definitely not as filling or delicious as my usual burrito bowl, but sometimes I just don’t feel like cooking. Plus Jonathan loves their quesadillas.

Jonathan is still eating like a 1 year-old, so his mac & cheese and quesadillas look like delicious, non-compliant heaven. I often catch myself almost taking a bite to check to see if it’s too hot for him, but have caught myself.

As an added bonus, this time I’m actually working out in conjunction with doing the Whole30. Because my son is the Energizer Baby, I’ve been getting up at 5am to get in a workout and Bible study before he wakes up (which generally occurs around 6:30am). My current routine is MWF- Fitness Blender video workout, TTh – run on the treadmill 30 minutes. Fitness Blender has been awesome and really fun yet challenging. A few of my favorites so far:

Total Body HIIT and Abs Workout- Cardio and Core Combination

Fitness Blender Total Body Barre Workout- 39 Minute Barre Workout

Better Posture Workout + Leg Slimming Pilates Butt and Thigh Workout

I have a few more saved to try, but if you’re a Fitness Blender member, I’d love suggestions! Run days are my least favorite, but in the past it has been pretty effective for me so I thought I could torture myself 1 hour a week. Maybe I’ll eventually start to like it again. Post-pregnancy, I feel like I’m having a harder time finding my groove with it, so hopefully I’ll hit my stride eventually.

The combination of Whole30 and these workouts seems to be effective as I have already lost as much weight in the first two weeks of Whole30 as I did the entire time last time.

I’m looking forward to the next 15 days as the down hill portion of the journey. I may try a few new recipes between now and the end, which is always fun.

If you’re interested in trying a Whole30, don’t be afraid to message me. I probably have a few recipes bookmarked somewhere, but I’d recommend checking out the following sites for ideas (some recipes may need to be altered slightly to make Whole 30 compliant):

Nom Nom Paleo – I use her cauliflower rice & zoodle methods regularly, in addition to other recipes (her kalua pig is great and makes enough to eat in salads, bowls, omelets, etc)

PaleOMG – I think she’s pretty funny, she’s local, and her recipes look very tasty

Whole 30 Recipes Instagram – they have guest posters who will share recipes and then if you like them, follow the poster for more recipes!

Follow #whole30 on Instagram or Twitter to find recipes that others are making that you may want to try. I love doing this on Instagram because sometimes it just LOOKS so good.

A Day in the Life

“A Day in the Life” posts chronicle Jonathan’s day, every hour on the hour, while he’s awake. I think it will be fun to be able to look back on these posts and see how his days change as he grows older.

8 months old: A Day in the Life
Almost 15 months: A Day in the Life






9:00amIMG_4748 10:00amIMG_4751 11:00amIMG_4754 12:00pmIMG_4756 1:00pm


Hello, September

I really wanted to title this “Hello, Fall” because there’s a cool breeze coming in my window, I had a salted caramel mocha today and I finally took off the last little bits of the nail polish from the pedicure I got in Spring and replaced it with a darker, more Fall-y shade. I should probably be a little embarrassed by that, right?

Fall is just around the corner, but for now I’ll enjoy the last few hot days by taking backroad drives with my little co-pilot, windows rolled down and country music playing. Is there a genre of music more perfect for summer than country? If you can’t get into a little Florida Georgia Line “Cruise” while actually cruising, there may not be help for you. Stephen got us a 90-day trial of Apple Music, so there’s been some serious late 80s- early 90s country playing around here and I have been loving it. I think Jonathan is a little worried about me, but he’s too small to have me committed, so I think I’m safe.

Summer was busy and brought a lot of changes to the Rabon homestead. The biggest of these is Stephen’s job change. After 11 years at Starbucks, he has moved on. He could better explain his actual role, but the important part for Jonathan and I is a regular schedule. Never, I repeat, never since I have known Stephen has he had that luxury. Weekends off. Holidays off. It. is. glorious. We had the first three day weekend in our entire relationship over Labor Day that did not require the use of PTO, trading in favors or voodoo.

For the first time ever, our Thanksgiving and Christmas plans will not be impacted by the asinine fact that Starbucks is open 365 days a year. I’m sorry to those who “need” their fix on holidays, but it’s not fair to take people away from their families on these special days (yes, I am aware that baristas work these days on a volunteer basis but if there aren’t enough volunteers, who picks up that slack? The store isn’t going to close just because they don’t have enough staff). Actually, I’m not sorry. Not at all. Ranting aside, I am overjoyed at the prospect of starting family traditions in earnest this year. Stephen will actually be home on Christmas morning! And all day! Jonathan is going to LOVE it. I will probably love it a little more than he does, especially while he’s too young to fully understand, but it’s a really big deal.

Those of you who read this post almost exactly a year ago remember my inner struggle with the idea of starting Amanda Rabon Photography. Well, I decided to push myself outside of my comfort zone and now, a year later, have had the opportunity to do probably 20 shoots. It’s been a challenge to put myself out there and to continue to learn and hone my craft. But I’m pleased with how far my photography has come, with the product I have created for my clients and the direction that my business is headed. I’ve already got two shoots on the calendar for October and with the beautiful leaves here in Colorado, I hope to add more to that number.

In the spirit of continuing to push myself to step out of my comfort zone and grow as a person, I’ve joined a local moms group. Thrive Moms Local – Highlands Ranch is a group of Christian moms seeking to connect moms and form a community of believers who support each other along the journey of motherhood. I’ve met up with the girls twice now and they’re super nice and have great kiddos. We’re still small and still trying to figure out how often to meet, etc. but I think that it’s good for both Jonathan and I to spend time in the company of like-minded individuals.

On Wednesday, I’ll be headed to a local church to join a Bible Study Fellowship group. I’ve heard so many good things about BSF from family and friends. It’s going to be pretty in-depth and more intense than any other bible study I’ve done, so that’s a little intimidating (not to mention the whole people I don’t know thing) but I’m hopeful to learn a lot and grow a deeper understanding of God’s word. The study is on Revelation this year and it’s only the most intense book of the Bible so nothing like jumping all in, right? The best part is that Jonathan will be learning too. My aunt raised my cousins in BSF and they’re pretty awesome so I feel like this is a good step. Plus, my friend Nicole from Thrive Moms may be joining me so that helps calm me down a little. Safety in numbers, right?


Jonathan continues to grow into an amazing child. His laughter is infectious, his smile lights up the room and his cute little voice continues to say more and more words. He’s able to string together words often now, and even strung together “more, please” with both words and signs. It was probably the cutest thing ever and would probably get him just about anything he wanted, but don’t tell him that or I’m in serious trouble. He definitely has moments of testing his boundaries and my patience, but he is still my sweet, loving boy. He has learned to say “I love you” and has even said it to me a few times on his own. If there’s ever a thing in life that will literally make your heart feel like it could explode, that would be it. His relationship with Stephen is the joy of my life, and makes me fall even more in love with both of them. You think you love a guy, but then you see him with the child you share and it just gets out of control.

In other exciting news, our family is growing! But not in the way that you are thinking. Dan and Joanna are getting married, which means that I’m getting a new sister. I only get sisters via marriage (or those who adopt me like Sandi and Nikki) so this is kind of a big deal. Joanna has been around most of Jonathan’s life, so he will never remember a time without having an Auntie JoJo, but she will be “official” come February. I’ve been blessed by being included on some of the wedding planning and feel lucky to get to be there along the road to them starting their life together. Marriage is the best, so I can’t wait for them to experience the joy of the next adventure in their lives. I did some engagement photos for them, which can be found here.

Now that you’re all caught up, here’s what you’re really here for: pictures!


Jonathan thinks he can Crossfit too, so he loved getting to “workout” during Dan and Joanna’s engagement session.


Stephen, Matt and I made this corn hole set as a gift for Dan & Joanna for their engagement party. It was a fun project.


A little bouquet I threw together for the engagement party


He looks too grown up when he wears regular shoes so it’s going to be sandals for life.


The two cutest boys at the cutest brewery restaurant


Jonathan loves this magnet board at the library. He regularly disrupts story time by passing out animals to the other kids. At least he’s sharing, right?


Jonathan’s first salon haircut. A shout out to squeeze pouches, goldfish, a truck, Uptown Funk and Sugar by Maroon 5 for the assist.


Jonathan and I have gone on a few local hikes


These two are the best part of me


Pictures at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park from dating to marriage to parenthood

Eighteen Months


A year and a half ago, Jonathan Michael was born. The moment I laid eyes on him for the first time, it was instant love. Labor was already forgotten and all I could think about was the unbelievability that the baby I had been carrying for 39 weeks was finally in my arms. And that we had a son. The living, breathing result of the love between Stephen and I. A little person who is half me and half the man I love.

Yet here we are, a fast and furious year and a half later, and Jonathan is such a joy. I still can’t believe how quickly my sweet newborn has transformed into a walking, talking, running, belly-laughing little man. A boy who loves his daddy so fiercely that he asks about him literally all day that Stephen is working. A boy who amazes me daily with his increased vocabulary. A boy who definitely has a mischievous streak in him. My little explorer. My little engineer. My little sweetheart.


Though he is definitely starting to test boundaries, he is still such a sweet boy with a compassionate heart. When he reads his Curious George book and George loses the baby bunny and is sad, he ALWAYS kisses George on that page. He isn’t much of a cuddler, but when he decides he wants to sit on me or give kisses, it’s the sweetest thing ever. Sophie, my in-laws’ yorkiepoo, may not agree. She is less than enthusiastic about the hugs and kisses he wants to give her, but he loves big. And that is definitely something I adore about my boy.


Jonathan can say a lot of words, and he definitely has an opinion about everything. I probably couldn’t list all of the words he says but here are some: daddy, mama, eye, ear, nose, belly, koala (“wala”), caribou (“car-boo”), roo (kangaroo), hippo, lizard, fish, George, monkey, ribbit, okay (one of the cutest!), what, water, bottle, birdie, horsey, cow (always referred to as moo-cow), car, no (my least favorite), milk, sky, cracker, book, banana (“nana”), apple, hoop, walk and of course, several family names: Nani, Grandpa, Grandma, Matt, D (for Dan), Bekah, JoJo, CD, Ash, Slade, Nana, Mack, “Opie” (Sophie). When he doesn’t have the words yet, he’ll just yell out some random gibberish very vociferously to make sure his point gets across. He can string words together, such as “bunny, are you?” (bunny, where are you). He’s asked where bunny, birdie, Daddy, Nani and George all are. He will also say “I get you.”


He walks, he runs, he tries to jump and dribble. He throws extremely well (though not always the things I would like him to throw). He mows the carpet and hardwood with his toy lawnmower. He plays his toy piano and loves listening to Baby Mozart, Beethoven and Bach. He can “count” to 3 (he knows how to repeat one, two, three, at times while moving objects). He has mastered the stairs by crawling, walking and sliding down. He likes to hand me pots and pans when I’m cooking. He figured out how to unwrap a Hershey’s Kiss on the first try. “The Wheels on the Bus” mesmerizes him. When we put him to bed at night, he says “bye” and blows us kisses (talk about melting your heart).


He does burpees. He does sumo deadlift high pulls with my 5 lb. dumbbells. His squat form is on point. Anything his dad or uncles can do, he thinks he can do, too. All of his own volition. He’s definitely a Rabon.


He has the best baby bed head. He has 12 teeth and his incisors are starting to make their appearances. He has a newfound appreciation for pb&j. He is quite interested in his belly button and will probably show it to you. He is a notorious water bottle thief. He charms people at the grocery store, restaurants, and Target. He high-fives all willing participants. He blows kisses to cars as they drive by.

He is truly a little man. But he’s still my baby. Not a toddler. Baby. (Someone is clearly in denial, a fact for which my husband continually mocks me.)


He’s spent the majority of the last two months surrounded by family at my grandparents surprise 80th birthday party, followed by my grandparents visiting, followed by my parents visiting, followed by Stephen’s parents visiting. He’s loved every moment. Family is so important, so I am truly thankful that he has been spoiled both by the attention but also by the quality time. These are the moments he may not remember but will be indelibly etched into the fiber of his being and into the memories of those who love him. IMG_5181

Eighteen months in and so much life has already been lived, with so much yet to come. I feel remarkably blessed to get to be Jonathan’s mom and help guide him into the man he will become, starting with these earliest days of his life. So much of who he is and who he will become is being formed each and every day. What a mind-blowing realization that no day, not one, is insignificant. Not one day is ordinary. Not one day doesn’t hold a deeper purpose in the course of his life. What an honor and a blessing it is to spend these days with him.


Five Years

Photo by Charlotte Geary Photography

Photo by Charlotte Geary Photography

“Heavenly Father, just as your Son blessed the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee with His presence, so now bless your children here who seek your favor. Look down upon them as their lives are about to be joined. We pray that you will weld these two hearts together and seal them with the bow of promise so that no storm of life, no temptation of the flesh shall be able to shake their faith in each other or in You. Be with them in sunshine and in shadow, in joy or sorrow, in prosperity or adversity, and may they live, so that they may be able to enjoy life everlasting. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.”

Five years ago, on the most beautiful day we could have chosen, the above prayer was spoken during our wedding ceremony. God has been so faithful to us, answering this prayer with a resounding yes.

I’m feeling overwhelmingly blessed with the husband God has given me. Stephen is my best friend, an incredible provider, an amazing father and a true inspiration to me of ways I can become a better person. He makes me laugh harder, love deeper and be braver than I could ever be on my own. His constant encouragement and faith in me has pushed me outside of my comfort zone and helped me achieve goals that I didn’t even know I had. From the earliest days of our long-distance relationship, I knew his values and priorities were in line with mine and that he would be an incredible husband and father.

Before we were married, our officiant (and long-time family friend) asked us for 15 reasons that we wanted to marry each other. I’m reading my responses right now, and every one of them is still true. Every single statement I made about the kind of man I believed Stephen to be was spot on. And I even did 16 reasons.

Photo by Charlotte Geary Photography

Photo by Charlotte Geary Photography

In the last five years, we have been on a big adventure. From the day we returned from our Hawaiian honeymoon, life changed in huge ways. I moved out of my mother’s home for the first time as a new bride. Four months later, we moved half way across the country to his home state of Colorado. A little over a year later, we tried to start our family. After two miscarriages, some lifestyle changes, and a lot of prayer, we finally experienced a healthy, successful pregnancy. After being married for three years and nine months, we welcomed our first child, a perfect son. The following fifteen months have been a journey as we navigated parenthood and the adjustment of being parents on our marriage.

Through the sunshine and the shadow, Stephen has been my rock.  He’s served me and prayed for us. He’s protected me and provided for me. I couldn’t be more blessed.

And now, as we look ahead to the next five (ten, twenty, forever) years of marriage, there is so much excitement about the possibilities before us.

“Now you’re my whole life
Now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe
The way I feel about you girl
We’ll look back someday
At this moment that we’re in
And I’ll look at you and say
And I thought I loved you then”

Love After All, Matters the Most

Photo by Charlotte Geary Photography

-Brad Paisley, Then: Our first dance song


A Day in the Life

When Jonathan was almost 8 months old, I posted the first A Day in the Life. These posts chronicle Jonathan’s day, every hour on the hour, while he’s awake. I think it will be fun to be able to look back on these posts and see how his days change as he grows older.














This photo was not actually taken at 1 as I was getting a pedicure with Meghan at that time- he spent that time with Brandon

This photo was not actually taken at 1 as I was getting a pedicure with Meghan at that time- he spent that time with Brandon


















Thankful Thursday

There is a lot of pain and sadness in this world.

Kind of a downer way to start a post about thankfulness, right? But it’s true. People that I know have been dealing with some really hard things in their lives lately; I almost feel insensitive to be acknowledging all of the ways my life has been blessed while knowing that truly wonderful people are hurting. However, I believe that God can and will heal and redeem these stages of their lives. I will continue to pray.

“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy” – Psalm 30:11 NLT

Without further ado, here are things I have been thankful for recently:

1. An awesome week long visit with the Rabon side of our family. Rebekah had her Spring Break from Baylor and so we had the whole family together. These times are few and far between, so we are truly thankful to get to have them.

2. Rebekah designing me an awesome logo for my photography business! She’s going to put some final touches on it after showing me her initial design, so I can’t wait to put it to good use!

3. A great family birthday party for Matt while everyone was in town. It included an obscene amount of tacos, my birthday food of choice. They take a while to cook but I could literally eat tacos every single day.

4. Safe travels to and from Colorado for Mike, Marcie and Rebekah.

5.  Jonathan’s love of music. He and I rather enjoy our time spent singing and dancing. He’s got pretty good rhythm (he does not get this from his mother)!

6. Some pretty gorgeous Spring-like days. Jonathan and I spent some time outside last weekend and it was glorious. I’m looking forward to parks and picnics with my little man.

Start ’em young.

7. My hilarious husband. He makes me smile and laugh so much.

8. Trying new food with great friends. My first time having Daal Bhat was definitely a success. Jonathan also loved naan dipped in yogurt sauce. All the way up his forearm.

9. The new pregnancies that have been announced for our friends. I am so excited for these friends to welcome a new little person into their lives. There’s nothing like being a parent, so I can’t contain my joy at the thought of people I love getting to experience it for themselves.

10. Jonathan giving me kisses before bed each night. It seriously makes me never want to put him down (and I’m pretty sure he knows this so he uses it to his advantage).

11. Jonathan’s face. I’m sorry but I just can’t get enough of his little expressions and sweet smiles. He even sleeps cutely. Drooling included. Bed-hogging included.

12. Jonathan’s awesome teachers and class. Since I am working right now, it’s so nice to know Jonathan loves his teachers and classmates. There’s a group of 3 boys around his age that he seems to enjoy interacting with.

Jonathan having breakfast with Miles

Jonathan having breakfast with Miles

13. Technology. This week I was able to chat with my dad for about an hour on the phone without crazy long distance charges and video call my mom so she could hang out with Jonathan a little bit. I’m so thankful to be a parent in this time where Jonathan can see his family on a regular basis via technology.

14. Photography clients who plan to have me take photos again. Repeat customers and appreciation for my work are pretty awesome.

15. Amazing friends who will watch our boy with little notice. It’s hard as a parent to leave your little one with just anybody, which is why I feel especially blessed to have a few people who we know will love and care for Jonathan as if he were their own.

16. My amazing Moore family for offering us lodging for our Florida trip and undoubtedly loving on us a ridiculous amount while we are there. We can’t wait to see you!

17. Homemade cookie ice cream sandwiches. I literally dreamt about these prior to trying two store-bought kinds and ultimately deciding to make my own to get satisfaction. (No, I’m not pregnant.)


18. Having enough people in the house when I make sweets to eat some so that I don’t eat them all. I love baking but should not eat all of the goods produced.

19. The smell of rain.

20. Cousins. It’s so fun to go through the different seasons of life with people you’ve known and loved for your entire life. Tori and I have been bonding like crazy through her pregnancy and I’m loving every second of it.