Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Little Hi-YA! (or Kee-iiii)

Doodle has been doing karate for about 2 months now. I've been diligently bringing him twice a week, dropping him off (for my lovely 45 minute break) and then picking him up, making sure he behaved himself and moving on.
And as the weeks have progressed I have seen him do various moves, use words I've never heard (like kee-eye and a few others) and basically get involved in something that is pretty foreign to me. It's not like dance where although you don't know the intricacies, but you get the general concept, you've seen some ballets, and have most likely taken a few classes. It's a whole new discipline to me. So, when one of the other moms from the class asked me if I'd be interested in trying it out myself I decided to give it a try.
It was unbelievably hard. The warm-up (WARM-UP!) was brutal. I was huffing and puffing through a lot of it. People were doing the splits. I was amazed.
And then the class started. My friend and I split off from the group and worked with a different teacher because we were new. She took us through some blocks. And it was not easy. But I liked it. In a weird way it reminded me of yoga - the fluidity and the working at your own pace, etc. It was also a completely unusual dynamic having people who had never done it in the class with black belts.
And I liked the people. Like really really liked them. It wasn't like a fitness class where no one really cares if you come back or not. It was more like a social setting where everyone wants to encourage you and tell you that you're great. Everyone was smiling.
I didn't want to leave.
And what's not to love about workout clothes being baggy and lo0se-fitting so that when you see yourself in the mirror you're not looking at your physical flaws you're looking at your moves.
But, I'm still on the fence about joining. Here's why. There's a huge commitment involved. You are trying for different belts and going to classes. I keep thinking that I'll get into it and then have to go back to work. Since the classes are at 6:15 on 2 weeknights (one of which I'm already busy on) I'm not sure how I would do it. But, that's months away - and maybe something like this would be good for me.
So I'm going to think about it a little more and maybe go back and sign up. We'll see.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Still Here

I realized yesterday that I rarely blog anymore. By rarely I mean about one time per week. It's not that there's nothing to say - it's just that with the beautiful weather, an active four year old and a baby who is getting busier by the day, I rarely have time to sit and compose my thoughts.
But, I did something brilliant. I put Doodle in a once-per-week home daycare program (which he loves) and I have a quiet 3 hours with the baby.
It's wonderful.
Doodle and I both need the break.
But, things here are going well. I'm happy. I'm relaxed. Phat Daddy and I rarely fight. I think we're finally settling into a routine. I feel like this year is a break for me. I'm feeling like I'm getting to know both of my children. And I'm enjoying being with them.
Sometimes I long to go back to work. And, knowing I will go back is calming.
Other days I have this heart-wrenching guilt that I'll be leaving my children during the days. That I'm not so good about dealing with. But, I know we'll get through it. I know we'll handle it. And deep down I'm aware that this time I'm spending with my kids is a break - it's a not a full-time forever job so we're still on a bit of a high from it.
I also know that if I need to take time to be with my daughter, like I've had this time with Doodle, I will not hesitate to request a leave of absence from work and take the time. I think about that sometimes. And I know, deep down, that there are answers and I have to let myself accept the choices I'm making.
Am I going back to work? Absolutely. But, I also know that it's okay. Breathe in breathe out. Move on.
See ... relaxed.
The other thing that is taking up my time ... Planning for our trip to Disney World. To say I'm excited is an understatement. I'm so looking forward to getting away and going to the Happiest Place on Earth. I think I'm probably more excited than all the kids combined (we're going with my parents and my sister's family). I can't wait for Doodle to see it. He has no clue. I also can't wait for the Cinderella breakfast with my niece and my little princess.
And, we're still continuing on this healthy path. We're now introducing foods back into Doodle's diet. I'm thinking he may have some sort of allergy to tomatoes and oranges. It's the acid thing. It's still all a theory. Once we do the food testing here we will get the hair analysis done.
Long story.
But, for now my princess is awake and we have laundry to sort.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Meeting Goals

Last night was my 4th Weight Watchers Meeting which means I've been doing this for a month. And guess what? I lost 2 more pounds which means I've lost a little more than 5 lbs. But more than that? I'd set a specific weight goal that I wanted to hit for our trip to Disney World. And I hit it last night ... 3 weeks ahead of schedule!
I'm thrilled.
Of course I set myself a new goal. And of course I have another 20 + lbs to lose before I hit my goal weight. But, I'm seeing the changes and I'm seeing the difference and I'm pretty happy about that.
Here's the funny thing. For the last month we've also been following a version of the elimination diet: no dairy, no refined sugars and flours, limited wheat and eggs. It has been difficult, but we've been plugging away at it. One of the ways we've done this is by baking a lot. The cookies in our house are low sugar and different wheats. And we've been eating TONS of fresh fruit and veggies.
So, yesterday evening I bought myself a cookie from Starbucks. I love them. And I was surprised when I just didn't enjoy it quite so much. It just tasted a little fake - and not quite so satisfying. Maybe there's something to this clean living.
This week we're also seeing our naturopath to review the results of what we've been doing. I believe that we'll be introducing some foods back into Doodle's diet (eggs, please eggs!). Should be a fun week.
And as for today ... we're having a strawberry and cereal picnic before playing at the playground and then going grocery shopping. It will be either really funny or BRUTAL. Only time will tell.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Continuing on the path to being holistically healthy (is that even a logical phrase?) I took Doodle to a pediatric osteopath yesterday.
The definition of osteopthy is that it is an approach to healthcare that emphasizes the role of the musculoskeletal system in health and disease. In most countries osteopathy is a form of complementary medicine, emphasizing a holistic approach and the skilled use of a range of manual and physical treatment interventions in the prevention and treatment of disease.
The way I saw it was that it seemed a little like the combination of chiropractic and massage.
We went there because according to my naturopath this would help with Doodle's problem with hyperactivity. The initial consultation was pretty amazing to me. By just looking at Doodle (and not yet getting the full details) she was able to describe his sleep problems as a baby, his current sleep problems (will happily stay in his room but takes a long time to fall asleep, wakes up early and changes positions a lot in the night) all by looking at his body.
When she worked on him she had him lie on the table. It looked like a massage table but smaller and lower. The manipulation takes about a half an hour. She did a lot of rubbing of his head and shoulders. The purpose was that she said that he is very tight on one side and loose on the other so he is out of whack. Thinking back, all sorts of issues he has had are all on one side. He has ear infections in one ear which is also very waxy most of the time. She said this is a drainage issue.
She explained to me the link between hyperactivity and temper tantrums and osteopathy. I'll admit she sort of lost me at one point because my understanding of biology is really lacking. But it made sense at the time.
Anyway ...
While she massaged away she rolled in a tv set and Doodle watched a movie while she did what she had to do. Brilliant. He stayed calm and relaxed the entire time.
The one thing she said to expect was he may sleep a little more. So far she is right. He napped in the car after and then he slept in until 9:15 today. He NEVER does that. I was shocked. And I like it.
When we combine that treatment with the lack of sugar and nitrates in his diet, I think we'll be seeing a big change in our child. I'll admit I already am. He's calmer and happier. He's still a 4 year old boy and we are still doing time outs and need to discipline him. But, it's different. For instance when he got a time out today, instead of kicking and screaming before he got there, he walked right over to the time out stair. He cried and screamed when he was there. But when I went to talk to him about the issue he calmed right down and listened and actually understood what I was trying to tell him.
This is all I hoped for. The roles Phat Daddy and I have as parents are to teach Doodle right from wrong, and to help him succeed in life (there's much more, I know). And, I feel like these changes we've made for Doodle's health are helping us to accomplish this. There's much less screaming on our part and much more teaching. We can do things with Doodle we would not have done even a month ago.
All of this is hard. But right now it is so so so worth it.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sunday Night Dinner

I sware this isn't a cooking blog.
But, so much of my life these days is trying to make our lives healthier that a lot of my mental energy is spent on planning out healthy meals. But, I want to not only make meals that are healthy, I want them to taste good so that we all enjoy them.
On Saturday we went to a wedding which was wonderful. And I was inspired by the yummy appetizer salad they served. It had strawberries and almonds and mandarin oranges. So, I ran with that. And, then I thought we should try bbqing shrimp because shrimp is really low calorie and I love bbq shrimp.
And, since there's nothing I love more that sharing my creative efforts with people we invited my parents over to try out our dinner.
The result was pretty successful. It was delicious.
Doodle has been helping me in all of my culinary efforts. Today we made banana muffins (delish!) and he was right in the putting all the ingredients in.
At dinner he was washing all of the veggies and setting the table. He even helped me make the salad dressing. And the more that he helps the more excited he is to try out the various foods that we make.
We didn't give him any of the shrimp. I'm not sure if he would have liked it, but we just introduced him to veggie dogs, and he was really excited to have veggie dogs with his healthy salad.
Tomorrow I'm taking him to an osteopath. Our naturopath recommended it to us to help with the hyper-acitivity (though the lack of nitrates and refined sugar has made a huge difference.). I'm really excited to see how this all works out and if it actually makes a difference for him.

Phat Daddy and I have been talking about how I'm embracing all of this. I realize that I've gone completely overboard on this healthy bandwagon. As far as bandwagons go, it's a pretty good one to be on. But in all honesty I think a huge part of it is that I really struggle with staying at home. I see some of the super moms out there and don't feel terribly successful. But, I think this has given me something to run with and succeed at. And so far so good.

This week, though, I need to make sure to journal his food and mood. I've been really neglecting that.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

My Day Thus Far

It's not even 1pm.
How did I start my day? By my tooth chipping while eating oatmeal. Ouch! I LOATHE the dentist and could not bring myself to go to my pre-pregnancy dentist. So I called Doodle's dentist (why yes, a children's specialist who has someone on staff who works on calming fears) who happened to have a cancellation and who were willing to take me on as a patient.
Then my mom came for coffee and Doodle had a complete meltdown. A meltdown that not even Spongebob could fix.
Then we walked to the mall to buy formula (since my mom and Mike will be watching the baby while I go for a marathon dental appointment) and they did not have the kind I wanted. Nor did they have the small size so we could see if she likes it.
Why didn't I pump then?? Ha. I tried. But today my pump broke. Not that it was doing anything. Apparently I only lactate for my child. I tried pumping 3 times before it stopped working. NOT A DROP.
Then the guy came to clean our couch, chair and rug.
The chair and rug are clean.
The couch is "too far gone" and he offered to charge me $150 to attempt the couch, but didn't think it would do me any good.
I give up.
I'm hoping for the best this afternoon!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Tale of Two Cakes

We're still eliminating away in our house, but tonight we had company. I wanted to make a dessert, but I decided that I would make the same cake (a really yummy strawberry cake) 2 ways - one using all the usual ingredients, another dairy, egg and wheat free.
I had a wonderful helper, Doodle, who was incredibly excited about the baking challenge.
I realize the cakes look a little different. The truth is that I only had one pie plate, and to add to the imperfection Doodle wanted to place strawberries on the top. So, I went with it and didn't particularly care that one wasn't as pretty as the other.
In the end I was pleasantly surprised by how the healthy version turned out. I'm putting the recipe below with the stuff I changed.
But while I was in my soon-to-be-renovated kitchen taking pictures I had to take a picture of our cereal collection.
I was laughing today when I filled our pantry because all of our stuff is organic or healthy or both.
The Count Chocula and Cocoa Puffs, etc have been replaced by homemade granola and various bran cereals.
You'll note all the bags of coffee. I am most certainly not cutting coffee out of my life!

Strawberry Cake - with replacements

6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened (replaced butter with shortening)
1 ½ c flour (replaced with 3/4 cup rice flour and 3/4 cup spelt flour)
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar (replaced with organic raw can sugar and cut down to 3/4 cup)
1 large egg (egg replacer)
½ c milk (replaced with soy/rice milk)
1 tsp vanilla
1 pound strawberries, hulled & halved

Preheat oven to 350*. Butter a 10-inch pie plate.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl.

Put butter and 1 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Reduce speed to medium-low. Mix in egg, milk and vanilla.

Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture.
Transfer batter to buttered pie plate.
Arrange strawberries on top of batter, cut sides down and as close together as possible.
Sprinkle remaining 2 tbsp sugar over berries.

Bake cake 10 minutes @ 350*.
Reduce oven temperature to 325*. Bake cake until it is golden brown and firm to touch (about 1 hour)

Let cake cool in pie plate on a wire rack.
Cut into wedges
Can be stored at room temperature, loosely covered up t 2 days.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Elimination Begins

After a visit last week with our amazing naturopath (more on that later) and a week of slowly getting rid of the junk in our diets, we're starting a full out elimination diet in our house this week.
I know it sounds brutal, but we're attempting to cut out wheat, dairy, eggs, tomatoes & additives out of our diets, specifically Doodle's diet.
It actually sounds harder than it is. Because I'm on mat leave and home with the kids all day I have a lot of control over what Doodle eats. I also have the time to prepare the foods that are kind of replacement foods. And, since it's summer there is a lot more yummy fruit and veggies in the store (and my child could survive on fruit, I think).
We did a bit of a test run last week. Both Phat Daddy and I were a little surprised by the results. Doodle has been happier and calmer. We've had meltdowns and temper tantrums, but generally Doodle is able to snap out of them pretty quickly.
We have been supplementing his diet with a special shake that is full of vitamins and minerals (and he loves it) so we know that he is getting the nutrition he needs.
The goal of this week (and the next 2 weeks) is to see what kind of a change eliminating all of that stuff will make in Doodle's life. I keep a food/mood diary which will be examined by our naturopath and once we have some ideas on what foods he may have an allergy to then we are doing testing.
Tonight is also my first weight watchers weigh in. Lucky me!