1st feeding-Trea

Very excited to be sitting with the big kids!

And who doesn’t love eating with an audience?!?

First meal (avocado and oatmeal cereal) was a success.  Duh!

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The void

I have, for the first time in 5 years, free time.  Both of my sons are sleeping soundly and consistently.  We are into a fun routine that includes pre-school, sports and swimming as well as play dates and downtime. 
They both are able to dress themselves (at their own speed), though they don’t!  They can vocalize their needs and often times help themselves.  And at the least, they can help me serve and prepare meals as I have put all of their dishes and cups at a height they can reach.
My wee lad is potty trained, and has recently started taking control of when he needs to use the toilet.  Which means, I don’t need to remind him as often.  He even takes his own pull-up off first thing in the morning! 
They can access all of their toys and games, some select art supplies and books and magazines.  The backyard is available to them.  They play together most of the time in harmony ( I should whisper this, lest I jinx it).
This has brought about some new feelings for me.  As a Mom, who doesn’t work outside of the home, I am not as depended on as I once was.  My older son will be starting Kindergarten in a few weeks, further freeing up my time.
I will soon have 3 short mornings a week where my younger son will be in pre-school and 5 days a week where my older son will be in school.  This is something I have looked forward to, however, now that it is upon me I am floundering.
What the hell am I going to do with all of this free time; all 12 hours a week?!?!  I will most certainly want to volunteer at my sons school.  I still love to exercise and workout.  I love reading.  But, I need a hobby.  Or two.
I want to love gardening.  But, honestly, I hate bugs and getting my hands dirty.  I also want to be more crafty-but whenever I am presented with free time, I never feel like crafting.  I also own a sewing machine and all of the sewing essentials.  But, again…i never sew. 
I have been reading a book, Women, Food and God.  It keeps saying that once we give up our obsession with dieting and food, that we can focus on the real problems in our lives.  She claims that if we focus on ourselves, that we will solve the emptiness that we so often fill with food. 
Perhaps if I had some hobbies that I loved I wouldn’t feel the need to fill my voids with food?

Childhood Food Allergies

When Spencer was about 6 months old, one of the first foods he sampled was yogurt.  I bought the plain greek yogurt, and Spencer didn’t love it.  He made a funny face and only allowed a couple spoonfuls into his grill before flat out rejecting it’s milky goodness.

After eating a couple of bites, I thought I noticed a few red marks on his face.  They were so subtle though, that I attributed them to irritation from using the spoon to wipe or catch the extra food that ends up all over little ones faces.

I made a mental note of the redness and moved on.  It was a while still before I tried yogurt again.  This time I smartened up and bough the Gerber baby yogurt-strawberry flavor.  He loved it and gobbled it down.  The entire container in fact.  And, he wasn’t even out of his highchair before he clearly developed hives on his face and around his mouth.

A phone call to the doc, some Benadryl and a vow to stay off dairy products until he was 1 year old–no cheese, no milk, no yogurt.  I never gave him formula, luckily, not that he would drink it anyway!  He is a very particular eater and drinker.  I wasn’t checking every label to ensure that all milk proteins were absent from the foods I gave him.  Not until I noticed he would have a couple of very small hives after eating certain foods.  I then began to read labels more closely and discovered that he was more sensitive to milk that I suspected.  He was reacting to items where milk (or derivatives) was low on the ingredient list.

I discussed it with his doctor at his 9 month appointment, and they suggested scheduling an appointment with an allergist when he reached 1 year old.  We did just that.  Elliott went through allergy testing last year as well, so I knew what to expect.  Spencer was a champion during the appointment and testing.

And, before I left the office I had a Rx for an epi-pen and was reeling at the discovery that my wee lad had not only an allergy to milk, but to eggs and peanuts.

The first feeling I had was pity.  For my myself.  I felt disappointed that it was my kid who was going to ruin lunch for everyone at school.  It was my kid who everyone was going to have to cater their lunch boxes to.  It was me who was going to have to make all sorts of food modifications for.  Then, I got over it and moved on.

We have been navigation the food allergies for several months now, and it doesn’t seem as bad as I had anticipated.  The main challenge is the peanut allergy.  Since he has never been exposed to peanuts, there is no way to know what type of reaction he will have.  It could be hives or it could be death.

The milk and egg allergies he will likely outgrow.  In fact, 80% of children outgrow their childhood allergies to milk and eggs.  While only 20% of children outgrow their allergy to peanuts.  We have eliminated peanut butter from our nut butter arsenal, as well as most products that contain peanuts.  But, we aren’t so strict as to eliminate foods made on equipment with peanuts.

The tough part is still coming though.  He is only 14 months old, and doesn’t have the language skills to ask why he cant eat certain foods, while his brother can.  But, he is beginning to show signs that he notices that we are eating foods that he isn’t, and he knows that he wants them too, and he shows me his dismay that I dont allow him to partake.  Spencer is very particular and vocal about the things he wants and doesn’t want.  He is my son after all.    Love that kid.  

Wheat Intolerance

I subject myself to torture.

On purpose.
Every few days.
It could easily be avoided, but I lack the self control to get a handle on it.
I have a wheat intolerance that causes severe abdominal cramps, pain that causes me to double over, and gas. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough add in chronic constipation, heartburn, and bloating. Couple these with pregnancy and you have a recipe for a very grumpy human being.
Yet I still eat wheat knowing full well that I will be in pain as soon as the food hits my lower intestines. I suspect that because the reaction is delayed that I tend to ‘overlook’ it in favor of the instant gratification of the flavor on my tongue. I have compared my ‘problem’ to drinking too much, having a horrible hangover the next day, swearing you will never drink again, and then doing it all over-again and again. The cycle of self-abuse (is there such a thing?).
The short story is that I have always had digestive issues. Since I was in grade school, I have suffered from unexplained tummy aches, constipation, and overall intestinal distress. When I started college however is when it really seemed to spike out of control–I was often in constant pain.
I saw a doctor on campus who said I had IBS, and put me on meds to help regulate the peristalsis of my intestines. It helped with the constipation, but not the with the pain or other symptoms.
Then, about 4 years ago, I met Elizabeth. We were coworkers and friends and she convinced me to try giving up gluten. I gave it a try and after just 4 days I was totally pain free. After having abdominal pain most days for decades I couldn’t believe how great I felt. I remember it like it was yesterday–feeling healthy and pain free for the first time.
So, why do I still eat wheat products–here are a few examples: bread, rolls, pasta, pastries, bagels, crackers, cookies, cake, baked goods, brownies (my personal favorite), Golden Grahams cereal, graham crackers, most cereals and cereal bars, soy sauce, pita bread, couscous, licorice, many candy bars and some ice cream…wheat flour is in practically every prepared food on the market.
I cook at home with frequency which helps to curb my appetite for these forbidden things. But, what about when I travel, or when I am not at home, or when we eat at someone else’s home? Yes, I need to plan more. Yes, I need to have more self control. Yes, I need to be more prepared when I leave the house to resist the temptation.
But what I really want right now is for my tummy to stop hurting from the french roll I ate at lunch.
If you are curious about wheat or gluten intolerance, or want to find some great wheat and gluten free recipes look here, and here.

20 week check up

I feel depressed and ugly.
I feel like shit about myself.
And my self esteem is in the toilet.
Yesterday was my 20 week appointment, and instead of being excited about my baby being healthy and hearing his heartbeat. I feel this way instead. I am selfish and self-absorbed.
The nurse who weighed me wrote my weight down as 10 pounds less than it actually was. I asked the midwife, and she was like, oh I thought you lost a pound. I said, crap…that means I actually gained 9 pounds, and she was like, uh-huh.
Granted, I weighed in on a different scale than I have been. And i had just eaten at Soup Plantation. But, come on… I thought I was eating well, with some small exceptions.
Except that my clothes are all fitting tight, especially in the legs and bum. Not in the belly where the weight should be accumulating.
I feel especially self conscious because I am close friends with 2 prego gals who both look great. And when I go to my Stroller Strides group, there are 3 more prego gals who look awesome. And then all of the postpartum moms who have rockin bods…
Ok, my bitch fest is over. Now, I am off to work out and hopefully feel better.

Co-op and Budget updates

I haven’t ventured out to the food co-op yet. I suck.

But, I decided to only shop at TJ’s and Whole Foods and skip the grocery store all together–for good. I feel way better about our food choices already.

I also made the decision to not buy any beauty products with parabens in the ingredient list. Its the small things, right? One decision at a time.

I managed to also eliminate another monthly debt from our expense list–the Gym. I didn’t go that often, Elliott hated the daycare center, and it was $45 a month. Plus, whatever I did at the gym I could certainly do at home. And, if I wanted to attend a class I could just pony up the $10 and go.

I also changed our netflix subscription from 3 to 1 at a time. Not a huge cost savings, but every bit counts when your working towards being a full time mom.

People’s Food Co-op

I finally ventured to our local food co-op. The location of the co-op has biased me since its in a community I don’t care for. I have been struggling trying to balance our households food needs. I go to 4 different stores to get all of the items I need.

Costco for soy milk, 2.5 gallon jugs of water, and too many other things I don’t need.
Whole Foods for spelt bread, tortillas, hot dog and hamburger buns. They sell the best ones.
Trader Joe’s for nuts, kosher meats, and the rest of my groceries.
Target or the grocery store for diapers and incidentals.

It is mentally exhausting. But more importantly, I end up spending alot of time reading labels and price shopping. HFCS, artificial sugars, pesticides, refined grains, low fiber, saturated fats, highly processed, trans fats. You could drive yourself crazy worrying about the food you ingest. I certainly do.

What I didn’t realize before, and am kicking myself about now is that the food co-op does the thinking for me (of course this isn’t always a good thing). But, at least someone has put some serious thought and consideration into every item they put on their shelves. The time savings of knowing that I don’t need to investigate each product is a big relief for me.

So, starting this week I am going to make my first official shopping trip. I will let you know the verdict.

Family Challenge

The in-laws (Grandma, Bobbotz, SIL, BIL, and cousins) hubby and I all saw one another this past week. They came to town for a few days to visit and enjoy our wonderful town. We went to LegoLand, swam in the hotel pool, and overall just chilled out (most often with a cocktail).

As we were consuming food and drink the conversation kept coming back around to wanting to lose weight and be more healthful overall. I have struggled all of my adult life with managing my weight and consequently my self image.

When I was younger, I was thin and healthy. I didn’t worry about my weight, although as a tween and teen I thought I was fat. What teenager doesn’t, right? But, by the time I was out of the teens and into my twenties, I did have a weight problem. I didn’t know how to eat in moderation, what foods were good for me, or how to eat a balanced diet. More importantly, I didn’t know how to cook.

Looking back in time, I was likely 20 pounds overweight. When the diet drug fad hit, I jumped on the bandwagon! I lost all of my extra weight and then some… Not long after I lost the weight, the diet drugs I was on were banned, and the lbs crept back on. *sniffle*

When I moved in with my hubby, 5.5 years ago, I had been on Weight Watchers for a year or 2 and managed to lose 20 pounds. So, for me, I was at an all time (drug free) low. I was also running 10-20 miles a week. I ran a handful of 1/2 marathons, one full marathon and then decided to hang up my running shoes for a while. I had plantar faciatis in both feet and was tired of getting up at 5am on most weekends.

Hubby and I started to eat out-A LOT! We had a large monthly spending budget on the company credit card that was designated exclusively for entertainment. Whoo hoo! The 2 years of drinking and eating took their toll, and by the time I waddled down the isle on our wedding day I was the heaviest I had ever been.

A year later I managed to loose 15 pounds and was down to a reasonable weight. That was when I found out I was pregnant. During the course of my pregnancy I gained…wait for it…55 pounds. I stopped asking my weight at the doctors office and I certainly wasn’t going to depress myself by stepping on the scale at home.

When I came home from the hospital I got on the scale and had only lost 6 lbs!!! My son weighed 8.1 lbs. The next several months consisted of non-stop breastfeeding and caring for a newborn–the pounds melted off. I ate anything I wanted and kept loosing weight. I am now at my lowest weight since my diet drug days.

The reason for this diatribe is to help me understand my eating habits and feelings about food. As well as to reveal my insecurities and reservations about food. I feel good right now and I want to make sure that I continue to eat good foods, that I can maintain my weight and most importantly I want to be certain that I am setting the best example I can for my son.

So, as a result of our debaucherous weekend we came up with this–

The Biggest Loser internal family challenge. Here’s the rules (as created by hubby)…

1) Weigh in using the scale you plan to use on 8/9/08. Send your results via email to the group. There is no embarrassment and no cheating – we are family after all..

2) The winner will be determined by the combined percentage of body weight lost between now and 8/9/08. The winning family will receive $50 from each of the other two families for a combined $100 prize. Here is an example of what I am talking about.
– Assume hubby weighs 100 lbs. on 7/16/08 and loses 10lbs by 8/9/08. That would be 10% of my total body weight.
– Assume wifey weighs 50lbs and loses 10lbs by 8/9/008. That would be 20% of her total body weight.
– Combined, this would be 30% lost.
– Get it? Good.

3) Good luck out there. If you have any complaints or concerns, please feel free to put melted butter on them and eat away. It only helps out my cause. 🙂

We are all officially weighed in and ready to rumble. My hope is that I don’t sabotage myself, as I often do when faced with competition. I suspect that I afraid of losing (no pun).

Fresh from the farm –delivery 3

This week fresh from the farm is:
Lemon, sweet lettuce, salad mix with edible flowers, pink or white grapefruit or corn, garlic chives or French sorrel, bok choi or purslane, Chioggia beets or red radishes, cucumbers or green (or purple) beans, summer squashes and bouquet of flowers. Sugar Baby Watermelon, plums, peaches, Dorcett apples, apricots or oranges.

I sent a message via their website to get clarification about what was being delivered and how their substitution policy worked. As we don’t seem to be getting everything they post on the web.

For example this week–we didn’t get garlic chives or french sorrel, or bok choi or purslane. So, perhaps we made it up in some other item. I don’t know, but I feel frustrated since it costs a fair amount.

I haven’t heard back from anyone yet, but my renewal came in the mail yesterday…so I hope to hear soon!