Saturday, April 30, 2011

In Her Majesty's Secret Service

So you all had British-type snacks whilst watching the royal wedding, right? Cause I felt absolutely COMPELLED, and the only thing we had in the house was.... dum dum dum. A Cadbury egg. Which I ate, because I'd be gosh darned if I let this historic occasion pass without the appropriate pomp and circumstance. But I only ate the one, and then I totally forgot about it and moved on with the day and did not start stuffing candy into my face Willy Wonka style, so I guess that's a good sign. I haven't physically craved sweets for a few days, but I also don't feel fantastically different without them, either, so... we'll see. And I swear I'm eating MORE than usual, albeit more healthy stuff. Well, I'm going to finish out the week, at least. Then we'll see. I might stick with writing down what I eat longer than the no candy thing, because boy does that make you think twice before shoveling random crap down your throat, and also makes you painfully aware of days when you've only eaten one item of produce (see: today.)

At any rate, that sugar-fast cheat was for you, Lovely Kate. I loved your makeup! I loved your hair! I love your immaculate yet not too thin eyebrows! Also, I love your super hot brother in law who happens to be only ONE DAY older than I am. (Your husband? Meh. He's ok too.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


So it turns out afternoons are pretty rough without a nibble of chocolate here and there. As proved by... three whole days, which in my mind, apparently, equals a substantial body of evidence! So far each day, breakfast is fine, I get through the morning feeling fine, eat a virtuous lunch, continue to feel fine, and then two o' clock hits and... SLUMP. I make another cup of coffee, eat an apple or some dried berries to try to get a jolt of natural sugar, but man, literally from then until dinner it seems I cannot shake the thought of a pan of brownies or a couple of Reese's eggs from the kids' Easter stash. While I don't feel super tired, or at least any MORE tired than usual, I can literally feel in my bloodstream the craving for refined sugar. I feel shaky and headache-y and cranky, and have to distract myself with busyness or I just keep circling back to the kitchen, looking for SOMETHING. I need a patch, just like a nicotine addict.

It sort of frightens me that I could be this addicted to a substance. It also gives me a new level of respect for people who manage to quit smoking or drinking, which is surely far more difficult. Now, I'm sure that there HAVE been days in my life before where I just didn't eat sugar for whatever reason, but it wasn't an intentional abstaining, so it probably didn't get noticed so much. I was likely doing stuff and out of the house or traveling, and had other things on my mind. When I'm home alone with small kids (who are constantly asking, "Can I have an Easter candy since I did x without whining/since I ate my lunch/since I stopped hitting Adelay/?") it's like this ridiculous loop in my head of BOY DO I NEED SOME CHOCOLATE/CANDY/DESSERT-TYPE ITEM. It's kind of pathetic to be spending this much time thinking about food.

So pathetic that this afternoon I was thinking, "You know, this is stupid. I'll just have a Reese's cup, end the craving, and move on!" Except that I WOULDN'T just have one. The floodgates would be opened, and then I'd have five or six over the course of the afternoon. And feel sick, and mad at myself. So I just keep trusting that if I give it a few more days, or a week, I will get used to being without afternoon sugar to get me through, and I will stop thinking about it so obsessively. Because that's the goal- to not NEED sugar to feel normal.

I should clarify that I don't think it's generally good to have forbidden foods. This is more just trying to break a cycle of addiction, if you will, so that when I do allow myself sugary goodness again, it will be at birthday parties and as a special treat, not a daily necessity that I miss like a freakin' CRACKHEAD if I'm without.

This dependence on a cocktail of sugar to get me through the day is a bad habit I started when Eli was a baby, and didn't start sleeping through the night until he was a year old... and even then, not reliably for another year. By afternoons I was just so profoundly tired that it literally felt dangerous to even drive anywhere. And drinking pot fulls of coffee wasn't an option since he was always sensitive to caffeine in my milk- a cup a day was about all I could have without making him cranky. But that was when we were trying to sell our house, so falling into a drooling coma on the couch just wasn't an option- I had to keep up on the cleaning and laundry all the time. It wasn't long before I discovered that in the absence of coffee, a brownie or a cookie (or a brownie AND a cookie) was enough to jolt me back awake long enough to get through the dinner/bedtime stuff before I could collapse on the couch for the night.

Not coincidentally, it also took me until Eli started sleeping through the night, thus ending my complete and total reliance on sugar to sustain me, before I lost the last ten pounds of my baby weight. Now, Jameson had a brief window of being a pretty decent sleeper, and I was feeling and looking good and the world was a sunny place. But ever since his bouts of ear infection back in Jan/Feb, he has been up and down the whole night, most of it spent in my bed because I am too tired to put him back in the crib after getting him up to nurse yet again! So yeah... the profound tiredness is really starting to get to me with this kid, too, and I've been doing the sugar routine again hardcore, kicked off with boxes of clearance Valentine's chocolates.

But this time, I am going to nip it in the bud! Yes I am! I am also going to try putting Jamie boy back in his own bed after feeds, even though in the short term it will be a pain, in the hopes that long-term it might help him wake less frequently. Also because I've become concerned that I am SO tired I am no longer able to cosleep very safely... a couple times last week I woke up on my side and realized I had fallen asleep while nursing without first making sure the baby was safely arranged away from pillows, with blankets tucked away securely, etc. His face was just inches from my pillow. I felt really freaked out and guilty. So! Time to try something different. This cosleeping is also causing me back and neck issues because when I know the baby is with me, I literally don't move a muscle in my sleep, and every time I wake up, my back and hips are throbbing from remaining so stiff. I went to the chiropractor a few times, but it only gave short term relief; after a few nights of sleeping with the baby, the pain was back, and this time I was more aware of it since I had experienced brief relief. So I think it'll probably only go away for good if I change my habits.

So does anyone else get this way about sugar? Or do I just have a really addictive personality? I sometimes think I do; for instance, I had a really hard time weaning off of the painkillers I had after Eli was born, and I was only on them for a WEEK. But I just felt awful once they were gone! Is that normal? Is the sugar thing normal?

Also, is it mean to try ending the cosleeping for my own selfish reasons? I feel sort of guilty, but also just sort of DONE, you know?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Health Kick Post! And Also Some Nursing Questions

So today I started the not diet diet, as in, I'm not counting calories and I'm not going to be hungry, because my milk supply is somewhat lame as it is, but I AM going to pay a heck of a lot more attention to what I'm shoveling into my cake-hole. Basically, I made a list of foods I know to be healthy and filling for me, and that's what I'm eating from, for... indefinitely. Until I get sick of it. Or something. This is SO boring, I know, but whatever, Tess requested it, so here is my list of foods:

-any fruits or veggies
-string cheese (low fat)
-cottage cheese
-Greek yogurt
-low sodium veggie soup
-a couple servings a day of whole grains like brown rice, Grape Nuts, oatmeal or similar
-fruit leather
(last two are my substitute snacks for when I'm craving crunchy or sweet)

Now, I like all these foods, and I'm eating enough to stay full, so it's hardly torture or deprivation here. Like for dinner I had tilapia and fingerling red potatoes (yes, I'm still eating potatoes- WHAT OF IT?) and asparagus. I seasoned the fish with a dash of EVOO, s and p, and herbs and everything else with just herbs, and it was a totally normal dinner for us and I was fine. But I'm a pretty genuine sugar addict, so ignoring the Easter candy has been rough today. I also realized that I have some sort of internal clock that goes off around two pm every day and announces, "Time to have some coffee and a sweet!" That was a rough couple of hours, even though I FELT okay (actually LESS tired than usual, interestingly) but I just felt all twitchy and weird and kept roaming back to the kitchen as though I had forgotten something. Forgotten my daily infusion of love handle fat, I suppose.

I wrote down everything I ate today, and that helped a lot with resisting the candy. Which I realize is simply a matter of willpower, but it didn't help that it was pouring rain again and I was stuck in the house, bored, all day long in the VICINITY of the candy. (Hilarious side note: it has rained like twenty out of the last twenty five days here! Oh, you delightful April showers! You have made our backyard so wet that a pair of DUCKS have taken up residence! For reals.) While I was at it, I also wrote down every time Jamie nursed, something I have not once bothered to do since bringing him home from the hospital. Can you tell I embrace the nurse-on-demand style of parenting wholeheartedly?

I had been worrying that maybe he wasn't eating enough during the day, and that was why he's still getting up three (3)(THREE DO YOU REALIZE HOW OFTEN THAT IS??!) times a night to eat. But I think... that's not the problem. He's nursed six times today already. (It's seven pm now, so he'll probably eat twice more before going to bed.) Now, he only ever eats for fifteen minutes at the MOST, and usually he nurses for seven to eight minutes exactly. I can't get him to go longer than that; he is just DONE, and when he's done he's done. The only time he'll nurse a full fifteen minutes is if, say, he fell asleep on a car ride right before he usually would have been hungry again, and then stayed asleep an extra long time, so that it's been four or five hours since he's last eaten. Then he'll nurse well, and actually stay on task and not yank his head on and off a bazillion times trying to simultaneously eat AND watch the world go by.

So, uh, any suggestions on ways to get him to eat less often/longer at a time? And not be so hungry at night? Because, you know, good grief. And also, Nephew Smith is sleeping through the night reliably, and that is just not fair. I need the sleep more! I have three kids! I call BS!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Filed Under: Diets, Baby Food, Breast Pump

Wow, I guess partying has its price. I cannot seem to get it together this week, not to blog, not to keep up on laundry or housework or bedtimes, and certainly not to curtail the endless stream of white flour/sugar crappola I keep shoveling into my face. Though, that's partly because I know my diet/LIFESTYLE CHANGE (gag) is coming on Monday.

No, it's a diet. I always hork a little when people yammer on about lifestyle changes vs. dieting. I mean, yeah, things like switching to whole grain bread instead of white and using butter instead of margarine are lifestyle changes. But when you're talking about trying to lose weight, it's a DIET. Unless you're telling me you plan on NEVER EATING CHOCOLATE AGAIN as part of your lifestyle, then if you're currently avoiding it, you are DIETING.

I'm not so much trying to lose weight (though I certainly wouldn't COMPLAIN) as I am trying to stop feeling like crap and like my midsection is turning into squishy bread dough. I'm actually back to my pre-baby weight (thanks in no small part to nursing, I am sure) and even down a few pounds from that, but without exercise and with a regular routine of nighttime snacking in front of the TV, my body is starting to look and feel like a pale, unbaked bread stick. So I know with the advent of summer sun and a bit of gardening and walking the muscle tone and color will return, but I would like to feel like I'm nourishing my body more healthfully, especially since I'm still breastfeeding (is this the... very best bite for baby??)

Also, one thing I've learned over the years is that weight is just a number, and can have very little to do with how you look and how your clothes fit. When I was working out three times a week, I was almost ten pounds HEAVIER than I am now, but it was muscle, and I LOOKED a lot better. Especially my arms and belly. I also learned during Jim's Great Diet earlier this year that if you're eating a lot of carbs, your belly is bloating, whether or not you're actually gaining weight. When you're eating a lot of fiber and veggies and lean stuff on a regular basis, your skin looks better and your tummy looks flatter. Gah, I sound so annoying, but trust me, I'm really reminding MYSELF of this stuff, because currently I'm eating danish for breakfast and drinking my second cup of coffee and I do NOT feel excited about switching back to Greek yogurt and almonds and carrot sticks come Monday morning.

You know what else I've become sadly resigned to? Eating well is kind of expensive. At least it SEEMS more expensive. Maybe in the end it evens out because if you're buying a bunch of junk it takes MORE of that junk to feel full? I don't know. I just know that these days I about have a heart attack every time I check out at the grocery. Sorry 'bout your luck kids; please accept these nutritious skim-milk cheese sticks and fiber-licious Grape-Nuts in lieu of a college fund!

I wish I were joking. I just hope that all this (attempted) eating well pays off and enables them to focus well in school and get fantastic grades and earn themselves full rides to Yale.

In other eating related (read: probably boring) news, Jameson is really into solid foods now. That's SOLID. As in, not pureed baby food, but those Gerber puffs and also those weird rice rusk things that dissolve when gummed. He happily spends up to an hour at a time taking down a package of those bad boys, but still can't figure out how to OPEN HIS MOUTH for a spoon so I can get some oatmeal into his belly. (Not that I'm trying all that hard... I despise the whole baby food routine, and honestly prefer ridiculously frequent nursing for awhile until baby can manage some mashed up table food thrown on his tray. I have enough trouble getting the five and three year old to eat without spending another half hour after dinner playing airplane just to get a few tablespoons of Earth's Best into the baby's belly, and the rest of the jar on his clothes. Spare me!)

So, the James is still frequently hungry and nursing three times a night, every night. I am so used to being exhausted that I felt better than usual the night I was out at a freaking DANCE CLUB until two am, because at least once I got to bed I slept, uninterrupted, for seven whole hours. Everyone else was staggering around, bleary eyed, the next morning, and I was all, "Good morning! I feel fantastic! Where's the coffee? And also my pump? 'Cause the girls here feel like rocks! Also I am SO AWAKE WHEEE!"

Monday, April 18, 2011

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Well hellLLOOO! That was a nice little sabbatical, eh? Not sure what happened throughout the week, but I can tell you why I wasn't blogging on the weekend. Bachelorette party, baby. One of my friends from ye olde high school is getting married in May, and on Saturday night we joined her for a last hurrah, complete with party limo and jello shots. It was a really fun break from the real world, and I was quite proud of myself in that I drank exactly enough to have a good time and dance a little without feeling silly, but not nearly enough to throw up/act stupid/have a hangover. Success!

Also? I decided it's way better to be a girl than a guy if you're going clubbing. Kind of an established fact, I guess, but definitely reconfirmed.

Except for the lines in the bathroom, of course. But that's anywhere.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Love The One You're With

I ran across this blog post the other day and I loved it so much I thought I'd share it in case it was just the thing any of you needed to hear, too. It's in a category of posts about decorating and decluttering, by the author of the adorable Clover Lane blog, and it's called "House Love." It's basically just about how to embrace and love the home/furniture/stuff you have right now, rather than constantly plotting and wishing and envying for other, better things.

It was perfect for me to hear right now, when I am often feeling a bit squished in our current home (just a BIT, but it's making me panic about what it would feel like to add even more kids!) and when I'm wishing the market wasn't so wretched and that showing a home wasn't such a staggering pain in the butt so that I could actually contemplate moving. This post reminded me that any house can be a dream home with a bit of love, work, and the right perspective: that is, that home is who you're WITH, not the composite of granite counter tops and double closets and professional landscaping. The happiness you feel in your home has very little to do with how it looks, really, but is more about how it feels. That's something I can improve no matter how much money or flexibility I have, right? That's a heart thing- if I can invest love in my home, even just by cleaning it or rearranging a chair or fluffing a pillow or watering a plant, I've made it feel a little better and more welcoming to me as well as my family and guests.

It also helped me to remember that what we HAVE in our current home (a truly perfect location, with wonderful friends both right down the street within walking distance as well as just a few minutes away in either direction, relatives five to ten minutes away on all sides, church five minutes away, SCHOOL five minutes away, Jim's office ten minutes away...) is something no other house could replicate, unless we magically found our dream home within a one mile radius. We have been very blessed in our location, and if we have to work a bit to make the home more comfortable and livable, well, that's a fairly small price to pay, and can even be kind of fun if you dig up the right attitude.

Here's what I did last night in our front hall to "love" my house a little more:

What helps you feel more content in your home when you're having one of those dissatisfied kind of days?

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Day 30

My hopes and dreams for the future, or something like that. Well, I guess now would be a good time to tell you that after years of toying with the idea, I am taking this year (or, next year or SO, I should say) to get certified with DONA as a professional doula. It's something I've considered doing ever since Eli's birth, but until just recently I've felt that my own kids/fertility issues/pregnancies were enough baby stuff for one woman to handle!

I'm definitely ready for a hiatus from my own personal baby-making adventures for the time being, though, so I feel I could now be free to concentrate on others. And after being present at both my sister and my friend's births recently, it was really confirmed to me that the whole pregnancy/birth/baby thing is a topic for which I can summon endless enthusiasm and interest. I've never felt that way about anything else. I also had a good talk with one of Jess's midwives, who told me that she thought I was a natural doula, and that she felt one day I could even be a midwife or a childbirth educator.

While the idea of actually being the one responsible for delivering the baby still scares me profoundly, I think I could DO it. Birth fascinates me and doesn't disgust me in the least, and I think for the most part I stay pretty calm when I'm at a birth. And I would absolutely, unequivocally love to teach birthing classes someday; it's something I've felt our area is sadly lacking in anyways.

So, that's that. Totally ready to get started on the doula path, and open to more someday, if that seems to be where the path is leading! I still haven't purchased the DONA kit, because once you do you're on the clock to get finished. Since a big part of the training is a (long) weekend workshop, I want to wait until I know Jameson can be without me for two or three days before I go. You're allowed to bring nursing infants with you up to six months old, but even if he were still young enough, he is an active and vocal baby, and I'd feel bad about inflicting him on everyone else trying to listen! So I think I'll be waiting until November, when there's a workshop scheduled at a really cool birth/breastfeeding resource center in Ann Arbor. Once I confirm that in stone (i.e. drop a deposit) I'll go ahead and buy the DONA kit, and get started on my reading list and on trying to find a breastfeeding class around here to attend.

I'm so excited, I won't lie about that. It's certainly not a highly lucrative or glamorous career path, here, that of birth junkie, but it's something for which I feel a lot of passion, and I was starting to think I might never find that niche. That maybe I just didn't HAVE passion for anything useful, or possible. (Like, I totally have passion for drinking red wine and getting in long winded religious/ethical/sociological debates in the wee hours of the morning, but that's not really something anyone gets paid to do, as far as I know.)

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Introspection and Whole Grains

Ugh. I just ate like half a box of Frosted Chocolate Mini Wheats. My gut hurts. Not as much as it will later, though! Fiber ahoy!

Er, anyWHAYS, I'm in a totally spaced-out mood today, so I don't think I'm up for finishing my thirty day blog challenge with a bang. I was supposed to write about hopes and dreams, I think? Right now all I can think of is, "I hope someday I don't feel so incredibly tired and unable to function right about this time every day." (I'm sure consuming all those carbs and sugars has nothing to do with it...)

I swear, every day, dinnertime is a surprise to me. Five o' clock rolls around and I'm all, "Wha...? We have to EAT again? And I have to plan it and cook it?" Whenever we go over to our neighbor's house she has her weekly meal plan on the fridge, with things like, "Italian subs and homemade coleslaw" on it, and I think about all the times I have tried and then inevitably abandoned various meal plans. Eventually they start to annoy and bore me, like any form of routine or structure (except bedtime, which feels more like FRANTICALLY DARTING OUT THE ESCAPE HATCH TOWARD FREEDOM time- hard to get tired of that.)

I dislike this particular character trait in myself, this extreme resistance to schedules, and I feel it makes me less of a parent sometimes. Yet here I am, closing in on twenty seven years, and I still struggle with it daily. I want to be spontaneous, to go with the flow, to follow my heart, ride off into the sunset etc etc etc unrealistic dreamer blah blah. Instead I wash sheets and I mop the floor and I give baths, and usually manage to do it all on a somewhat routine basis, but then there are fails, too, like this morning when it was breakfast time and our cupboards contained NONE of the following items: bread, cereal, crackers. And we're not on Atkins. Or there's the zillion times we're running late and I'm snapping at the kids to hurry HURRY HURRY! even as my inner voice whispers that it is way more my fault than theirs that we're behind schedule.

Sigh. Tomorrow I'll remember my strong suits. Today it seems I'll be eating my (newly purchased) cereal for dinner and pondering, yet again, how to do better.

Friday, April 01, 2011

I Do This Stuff So You Don't Have To

So everyone knows that awesome April Fool's prank of having a pregnant friend pee on the test for you, and then waving it at your husband all casually over dinner, right? And it's so hilarious when he has a mini heart attack, and then so amusing to watch his relief/fury when he finds out he's been had?

Well, it turns out it's less funny on the other end.

The other day I bought a pregnancy test, since I'm nursing and still don't have the Monthly Reassurance of NOT being pregnant. I just like to check in every now and then, since I've heard plenty of stories (including one from my neighbor, whose girls are fifteen months apart) of women thinking they were without a period because of breastfeeding when it turned out they were actually, like, three months pregnant. Surprise!

So, it was negative, all was well, I threw it away and moved on. Fast forward a few days, and I'm out in the garage looking for something when my eye spots the white pregnancy test stick on the floor, the last remains of a whole pile of garbage bags that got ripped into and torn apart by some very determined animal when we forgot to put the garage door down that night.

I picked it up to throw it away, and... it was positive. Very positive. And then I had an embolism and stood stock still in the garage for like five minutes while my head exploded.

I told Jim, and told my friend, and they were both all "Pfft. That test is days old! You're not supposed to regard results after ten minutes!" But... this same thing happened for DAYS when I was newly pregnant with Eli: I'd get a negative, but then hours later, I'd dig it out and it would have turned positive. I finally got a blood test to confirm that I was indeed in the family way, but the experience forever made me suspicious of so-called "false positives" and also compels me to keep all tests out for at least an hour or so even if they're initially negative.

So of course I went right back out and got another test, and of course it was negative, and seeing as how it's a near impossibility that I could have been pregnant anyways, I'm going to go ahead and believe it. But holy crap that scared me. So I guess maybe a few hours is all right for an extended test observation period, but I'm going to go ahead and say PLEASE don't dig days-old tests out and panic if they're positive. It must be a fluke.

(I know you're all saying, "But maybe you're pregnant!" However, I really don't think so. I have no symptoms. And here's a classic cautionary tale about reading tests past the ten minute window, while nursing, that confirms my feeling of NOT pregnant.)