Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Diet Update: Weet 3

Bad week, folks. Very bad week.

Those two pounds I lost last week are back. I didn't eat well, I wasn't careful, I didn't drink enough water. It was just all around crap.

So. I begin again.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Men In White Coats Are Considering A Visit.

I'm onto you.

Yes, you over there. The company that makes childrens toys. That's right. I'm onto you.

You hold your focus groups and your brainstorming sessions and talk to all the experts in the field of child development and then you design toys around the resulting data. But, I'm onto you. You're not doing this to further the intellectual development of my children.

You're doing it to torture me. It's all a secret plot to drive me insane.

If I'm not spending my days listening to the banjo pluckings of the Leapfrog Fridge Farm I'm listening to Farmer John sing "Old MacDonald" while driving his tractor. You gift me with the insane giggling of the Drop and Roar Dinosaur or the multiple musical instruments and songs included in the LeapFrog Learn and Grove Musical Table. Even the stuffed animals talk sometimes!

Everything makes a noise, sings a song, or otherwise noisily rewards my child for interacting with it. He finds it so addictive that he can't stop pressing those buttons to make those noises. Over and over again I hear the same things.

You want me to be a blibbering idiot by the time the kid is 5, don't you? Yes, I thought so, too.

He has become so enamored of your creations that when he doesn't have buttons to push for musical accompaniment to his day he looks lost and bereft. Constant input is all he knows. Ask the kid to sit still and read a book and he needs 87 other things going on in the background in order to do it.

Eventually my brain is going to seep out of my ears to the strains of "Skip To My Lou." It's running away, really, looking for a better home that treats it well and doesn't abuse it. I urge it to look for a home without small children. One day it may come back to me but I fear that I will not remember how to use it by then.

The songs and noises meet me in my dreams. They will not go away. And if I have to listen to "Farmer in the Dell" one more time the Fridge Farm is going to get dropped in the toilet.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Diet Update: Week 2

Without further ado, pounds lost this week


2 lbs.

For a total loss of 3.5 pounds.

I can't tell you what I did right this week because I honestly felt like I was sabotaging myself pretty much all week.

But hey, I'll take whatever I can get. Onward and upward.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Is That A Light At The End of The Tunnel I See?

One of our biggest hurdles with Liam has been his diet. He's ridiculously picky. Once upon a time, when the world was new and Liam didn't know any better, he was willing to eat just about anything I put in front of him. Those days are so far in the past they live with the dinosaurs.

There's a lot of reasons that things got as bad as they did. The primary reason is that just as he was getting really picky he also got really sick and he stayed that way for months. He was losing weight and we were desperate for him to get calories of any kind. As a result we fed him just about anything he was willing to eat - even if he was surviving on mostly snack foods - because it was better than watching him continue to lose weight. It started a lot of bad habits on all our parts.

By the time we got to a point where we should have been changing the way he was eating I was pregnant again. Pregnancy does not agree with me and well, that whole 9 months was really a wash as far as progress with Liam was concerned.

So, by the time he was four we were really feeling like things were deteriorating. He preferred snack foods over anything else, was willing to eat about 5 different entrees, no vegetables, and very few fruits. He wanted to snack between meals rather than actually eat three meals a day and he filled in the cracks with milk. He was still growing but slowly (which I believe to be partially due to his genetic heritage - it runs in the family) and was practically falling off the growth charts. He was also vehemently opposed to trying new things and expanding his diet.

We had a discussion with our pediatrician and instituted some new rules around the house. We got him to cut back on the snacking and eat more of his meals so he was getting better nutrition. We pushed him to try new things with very mixed results. Over the course of a year we've managed to get him to eat one or two new things but beyond that he refused to expand his list of choices.

I was reduced to making three meals all the time: one for Scot and I, one for Liam, and one for Jamie (because he's still working his way into eating table foods). I hated it because I didn't feel like that was the proper way to parent the kid but in the same breath I knew he would just refuse to eat if I put what we ate in front of him. He's just stubborn enough to start losing weight again because he refused to eat.

In addition I was having the same argument with him twice a day at lunch and dinner. "What do you want?" "I don't know." Lather, rinse, repeat. He was frustrated that he didn't have more choices, unwilling to try anything new, and obstreperous about paying attention to me long enough to make a choice. I felt like all I did was fight with him and it was really seeping into everything. He was disrespectful a lot of the time and he was just not enjoyable to be around.

In the end the whole situation became untenable and we finally put our collective foot down.

I sat down with a list of all the things he likes to eat and created a menu for the week. The creation of this menu caused a huge tantrum on his part but we stood firm despite the yelling. He managed to tantrum himself right into his room. In hindsight, he knew this was an issue that he could manipulate us with and he really objected us taking away a button he could push.

The surprising part is that once he got over his initial upset he took to the whole thing like a duck to water. The arguments have disappeared because he doesn't have to make a choice. I look at the menu, tell him what he's having, and that's what he eats. He's much less frustrated about the issue and thus, so am I.

The truly shocking part is that suddenly he's eating about twice what he was before the menu. He will finish what I tell him he has eat and then tells me he's still hungry and at that point I let him pick what he would like to have in addition. Apparently he was so frustrated that by the time he got to eating he was just too stubborn and upset to eat a decent meal. It also meant that we spent 45 minutes at every meal badgering him to keep eating. We don't have to do that anymore.

Between not being constantly frustrated and not being constantly hungry because he's stubborn and starving himself, he has been like a new kid. He's finally eating and happy to be doing it, he's more respectful, more polite, and in general a lot less hateful than he's been for months. I don't spend my days ranting and raving like a lunatic because I can't take it anymore.

He's been on the menu system for a week now. I've been reluctant to say much because I don't want to jinx it but he seems to be in a groove with it. I'm hoping that if it keeps up it will trigger a growth spurt.

He still doesn't have a lot of variety in his diet. His entrees consist of peanut butter sandwiches, pasta, chicken fingers, mac and cheese, and grilled cheese sandwiches. He has about the same number of fruits that he's willing to eat and there isn't a single vegetable I can tempt him to eat. My hope is that with the pressure and frustration he was feeling alleviated, he will eventually be willing to try a few new things. Only time will tell on that score.

Yes, I know that all of this should be obvious and yes, I do feel like a total idiot for not doing all of this before. In my defense there were reasons why not and by the time we got around to thinking about doing a menu, Scot and I felt so defeated by the issue that we procrastinated about creating a menu because we honestly didn't have any faith that it would work. I'm beyond shocked that this was the thing that turned the tide. We tried so many things (that I didn't include here because, Holy Long Post, Batman!) and none of them were successful. We had no hope that this one would be The Thing that would work.

So here's a big fat *fingers crossed* that this all continues to go so well.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Diet Update: Week 1

I just finished my first full week of working to lose weight and eat right. Without further ado, my weight loss for the week was:

1.5 lbs.

Certainly not the best I could have done but also not the worst. I'm aiming for a solid 2 lbs per week loss and this was only half a pound short of that. I have to admit that my good friend Temptation is still popping up now and then so while I haven't completely jumped down off the bandwagon, I have touched a toe to the ground a few times.

I feel I need to sum up both the bad and the good so I know where I'm going wrong and can work on that portion while I also know what I'm doing right so I can keep doing those things. Writing it all out seems to clarify the situation for me and helps me to maintain my dedication to this process.

The Bad
  • I didn't eat enough fruits and veggies.
  • I didn't exercise at. all. unless you count chasing children.
  • I didn't always make the best choices at meal times and snack times.
  • I drank soda at least 3 times this week.
  • I did not manage to stop snacking after the kids go to bed.
The Good
  • I increased my water intake significantly.
  • While I didn't always make the best meal and snack choices, I chose good things more often than bad.
  • I only drank soda 3 times this week. I used to drink it at least once a day. This is improvement!
  • Yes, I did snack after the kids went to bed, but it was much less than it used to be and I made much better choices most of the time. One or two nights weren't so great but I'm making progress.
I had one really pivotal moment this week. It was evening, I was watching TV, and the kids were in bed. I had already had a small snack and I was working on drinking more water. It was around 10 pm and way too late to eat but I had a very strong urge to snack. I stood there in the kitchen with my full glass of water and said out loud "You are stronger than this moment. You are not really hungry. You can do this."

And I walked out of the kitchen with my water and no snack. I beat the craving.

If I did it once, I know I can do it again. I just have to keep trying and remember that every time I make a choice about how I eat is another chance to make a positive change in my habits. Sometimes I just need that cookie but I know I can indulge in that a little bit and move on to the next choice the next time around.

With the snow finally gone around here and the sun beginning to peek out on a regular basis I am going to make the effort to get out and walk this week even if it's only once. I have to start someplace.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Oh, There You Are Time Change. I Didn't Miss You.

As usual, time change snuck up on me. It always does. When I was growing up we leapt forward in late April and fell back in early October. Now that we leap forward in mid-March and fall back in early November is feels like daylight saving time is endless and there isn't enough time between the two time shifts.

Let me just make this perfectly plain: I hate daylight saving time. I hate jumping forward, I hate that it's light so late in high summer, I hate falling back.

Why, you ask? How could I possibly hate more sunshine in the summer or an extra hour of sleep in the fall?

Well, I'll tell you. The extra hours of light in the summer time make it difficult to get the kids to go to bed. I can even remember as a kid not being able to sleep because it was so light out when I went to bed. It also means that things that must take place after dark, fireworks for example, start that much later. 10 pm for the fireworks show? My kids'll be in high school before they ever see one. It's so far after bedtime that I can't even begin to keep them up that late. Not to mention that it's 11 pm when the cul-de-sac in front of my house turns into downtown Beirut on the Fourth.

In the fall, you'd think that the extra hour of sleep would come in handy. And indeed, it can. But the children already get up around 6:30 am. When we hit fall time change, they hit the floor no later than 5:30 am and will. not. go back to sleep. There is not enough coffee in the world to deal with that.

The adjustment itself is enough to drive a saint to guzzle booze. Liam was one salty little kid yesterday. Arguments all day over the smallest of things. Time spent in his room. Crying. Tantrums. Rudeness and sass at every turn.

Jamie was like a limp dishrag by bedtime last night. Sleeping late in the morning meant the loss of his morning nap. His afternoon nap was a farce and I can't be sure how much sleep he actually got. He slept late again this morning which, again, meant the loss of his morning nap. When it came time for afternoon nap I asked him if was ready and he got up and ran to the stairs. Talk about amazing - when was the last time you saw a 1 year old running toward nap time?

There is no real need for this time shift we go through twice a year. Maybe, once upon a time, it was helpful to farmers. But that isn't the case anymore and it would be really great if we could move along into the 21st century and drop this ridiculous farce.

Who's with me? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

'Splain This To Me

Allow me to set the scene:

I was driving home from dropping Liam off at daycare this morning. I stopped at a stop sign and a gray haired geezer in a BMW pulled out in front of me. Worry not, he had right of way, I'm not complaining about that. As I proceeded from my stop sign I caught sight of the license plate on the car.

If you can't read that it reads "6 STENTS" (and you can click the picture to get a bigger version). Is this really something that you need to immortalize on your license plate? Is he so proud of his ill health that he needs all the world to know about it?

I keep trying to imagine a circumstance in which this would be worthy of the purchase of a vanity plate. Is he perhaps a surgeon? But surely if he's a surgeon that installs stents he's done more than six. If he's only done six, doesn't that reflect badly on his skills? So, again, why put it on a vanity plate?

I have to say, I don't get it. It sure did provide my morning dose of surrealism.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I Think I Can

Remember way back a few months ago I talked about how I was going to lose all this weight and that I was on the wagon and how I was gonna be all skinny by summer?

Well. Temptation came, tapped me on the shoulder, and gave me a hand down from the wagon. Meanwhile, whoever was driving that jalopy kicked it into high gear and drove off down the road at breakneck speed leaving me in the dust with my good friend Temptation.

So here it is two months down the road and I'm right back where I started. I had lost about 4 pounds at one point but that's all right back where it was. I disgust myself. I can't stand the way I look, I can't stand the way my clothes fit, and I'm dreading the arrival of summer and the advent of skimpier clothes.

I have drawn the line in the sand. This is it.

Yesterday I flagged down that speeding wagon and hauled every last pound of my flesh back up onto it. I started a food journal in an effort to find a way to be accountable for the things I choose to eat. That is also the reason I chose to put all of this on the blog. I feel like I have to shame myself through public humiliation into making the right decisions because sheer willpower alone isn't cutting it.

Yesterday and today have been OK. I've made some not so great choices about snacks. I've eaten a bit more than I should between meals. But, on the plus side, I've had nothing but water to drink and lots of it and I've made better choices about my meals.

One of my biggest hurdles is snacking after the kids go to bed. I tend to sit in front of the TV trying to wind down for the day and I have a really bad habit of eating in front of the TV. So whenever I sit down at night I want to snack and keep on snacking. I'm really trying to focus my willpower on halting that behavior. Last night I had a little bit while watching TV but significantly less than I've done in days past. I'm hoping to clamp down on my impulses and get better.

When the snow disappears, I'm going to start walking with the baby. Liam is in daycare three days a week so that gives me time to walk without having to drag him with me and then I can squeeze some time in on the weekend, too.

It's going to be hard work. I know it is. But I'm tired of living like this. I'm tired of looking like this. I'm tired of feeling the way I do - tired, heartburn, aches and pains in my knees. It's got to stop and I have to drop 30 pounds.

So it starts here.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Birthday Repast

Pasta Rustica (garnered from a Williams-Sonoma catalog)

2 tbs olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 lb chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 can (28 oz) tomatoes in puree, tomatoes coarsely chopped, puree reserved
Salt, to taste
1 lb penne pasta
1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded fontina or mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, warm oil. Add onion and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 min. Add sausage and cook, breaking it up into bite size pieces, until no longer pink, about 6 minutes. Stir in basil, oregano and red pepper flakes. Add tomatoes with puree and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 10-12 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil baking dish. Bring large pot of water to boil over high heat, salt the water, add pasta, stir well and cook until barely al dente, 10-12 minutes. Drain well. In LARGE bowl, toss pasta with sauce, ricotta, and fontina. Spread in prepared baking dish and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake until cheeses are melted and tips of pasta are crusty, about 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve hot. Serves 6-8.

I use a can of crushed tomatoes and it works just fine. Also, I never measure the spices, just toss in until it looks good. :)

Birthday Fun For One and All

Yesterday we indulged in birthday fun for Jamie. My parents came into town for the weekend to celebrate with us so we started off the day with a trip to the Carnegie Museum. Um, Holy Crowded Building, Batman. We've had nice weather the last few days and that hitherto unknown deity referred to as Yellow Orb has been gracing us with his presence. I figured everyone would be outside doing something. Apparently not. They were all in Oakland at the Museum.

But, no matter, we still had fun. We saw the dinosaurs (always a popular destination) and looked at the Hall of Wildlife. We saw the special exhibit on whales and checked out the gem and mineral hall. As always, people watching in these situations is a hoot. We saw cute little kids, sullen teenagers spending their time texting (why exactly are you at a museum again?) and then we saw something I couldn't quite explain. A family had rented one of the double wide museum strollers. On one side was a little girl about 4 years old. On the other was her big (and I mean, ahem, big) brother of about 8. Now, why did you need the stroller in the first place? And even if the 4 year old required it, the 8 year old did not. Get up and use your damn legs! You might benefit from it, kid. Did the parents really need to be pushing 100 pounds worth of kids around the museum?

By the way, this is still what happens when you point a camera at Liam.

After we came home we got ready for Jamie's party. Scot's parents came over to celebrate with us so it was a small gathering. I made a very yummy recipe called "Pasta Rustica" for dinner (which I will post separately later) although Jamie had macaroni and cheese with pears. Then it came time to open gifts.

This went about as well as you would expect.

Gift #2 was this tractor from Scot's sister. Jamie immediately fell in love with it. He refused to pay any attention to anything else from there on out. Scot and I had to open all the rest of his gifts. Once we got them out of the packaging he consented to play with them but he kept returning to that tractor. He loves it.

Liam is also in love with everything Jamie got. As it was with Christmas, so it is with the birthday. Liam is into Jamie's new things to the point where Jamie can't even play with them because Liam is hogging everything. It's driving me completely insane.

Then it came time for the traditional smashing of the cake. I made cupcakes for him because I was pressed for time and it gave him a small portion of his own to destroy. It took him a few minutes to get the idea but once he did, he was all over that chocolate cake like white on rice.

He had a great time and so did everyone else. The house, in particular the kitchen, is now trashed and I've got to get off my dead duff and do something about it. However, it was a much more successful first birthday than Liam's (who got seriously ill the night of his party) and now it's back to normal life. If anyone can tell me what that is, I'd appreciate it. ;)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jamie!

We're having a celebration on Saturday so for today, I'm just going to share a look back at the last year.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Trip Down Memory Lane

One year ago today I was waking up on a typical Tuesday morning. Liam needed to have breakfast and get ready for daycare. I needed to pry open my eyelids enough to get dressed and brush my teeth so that I could drop him off.

What was not typical was two things: I was heavily pregnant and Scot had a doctor's appointment that morning for surgical follow up on his wrist.

I had two weeks until my due date. I was huge and uncomfortable and growing more so by the day. When pregnant women say that the last few weeks of pregnancy suck they mean it. In my case, I *really* meant it. My whole pregnancy and been crappy and hard and as I neared the end I wanted nothing more than for my useless and endless contractions to actually DO something. Everything in my life had become a challenge at that point and Scot was largely out of commission because of his surgery. His wrist and arm were in a cast and he was sporting the most fabulous yellow foam wedge on the arm as well.

Since he wasn't allowed to drive I had to take him to see his doctor that morning. We were expecting them to remove the pins in his arm and for him to feel a lot better and gain more use of his hand/wrist/arm. We were, in fact, counting on it. We had been told at the time of surgery that this would be what would happen.

So, when Dr. Sadist the orthopedist walked into the room and announced it was too soon to remove the pins we were both unhappy. When he looked Scot full in the face and told him to "just deal" with the pain he was in without the benefit of narcotic painkillers we both got angry. Word to the wise - never anger a heavily pregnant woman.

After a tense exchange, Dr. Sadist agreed to prescribe pain medication for the two weeks until Scot's pins came out. This, of course, was all we wanted in the first place despite the fact that Dr. Sadist acted as though we were looking to score Oxy on the street. *eyeroll* He upset me so much with his attitude and the misinformation over pin removal that I sat in the room with Scot and cried while they recasted his arm. It's a long story but I was looking forward to the end of being the only functional adult in the house and because I was so huge and uncomfortable (read: in constant pain) this was A Big Deal.

We left the office with an appointment in two weeks time to remove Scot's pins and a really paltry prescription for Vicodin. Scot was pissed. I was pissed. We walked out of the building and drove straight to Scot's GP so that he could talk to them. They were willing to take care of him and understood that I was damn near incapacitated myself.

It was a long and stressful morning for me. I spent a lot of time in the car which only ever aggravated the contraction situation. The afternoon was a bit more calm and I headed off to pick up Liam at daycare in the late afternoon.

My contractions rematerialized in the car as they always did.

When I got home with Liam they kept going which they never did.


I left Liam hanging out with Scot and I went upstairs to time contractions and try to figure out what was happening. Two hours later they hadn't quit but they hadn't patterned either. They also were not exactly painful. Uncomfortable, yes. Painful? Not really. You would think that I would know labor when I saw it since I'd been through it before but I was flummoxed. While Scot got dinner for Liam and then called his Mom to have her come help put Liam to bed (Scot was unable to do bath time) I put a call into my doctor. She said to time it for another hour and if it didn't quit to come into the hospital.

It was a good thing my mother-in-law was already at our house because an hour later they hadn't quit and we had to go in. By the time we got there they were getting closer together and starting to become painful.

When I got all checked in and the doctor gave me the once over we got the word that I would be staying. Dr. Sadist had done his sadistic worst and stressed me into labor. The baby was on the way!

I got to have my epidural early so my labor was smooth and comfortable. Magee was incredibly busy that night (I got the last free L&D room) so it was just as well it was smooth sailing for me. But, around 5:50 am on March 4th, I was ready to push. At 6:05 am, Jamie was born.

One year ago today I woke up expecting my day to be normal. I woke up expecting to slog my way through at least two more weeks of pregnancy. One year ago, I ended my day by holding my newborn son.

Happy Birthday, Jamie. I love you.