Friday, September 28, 2007

And life keeps going...

Sometimes life just seems so overwhelming. Yesterday, I sat in my chair at the orthodontist's office and bawled. I just didn't feel strong enough, brave enough, awake enough.

I had slept in bed with Felicity every night for 7 weeks. Add that to a pregnancy that included 1-3 bathroom breaks a night, and it had been many months since I had slept a full 8 hours.

My diet restrictions were becoming overwhelming. I had just learned that eating even trace amounts of milk or soy could be enough to damage my daughter's intestines further and give her more or longer lasting allergies. Suddenly, even my supplement pills were suspect, and I wasn't sure how to even find bread that fit the bill.

The gums around one of my wisdom teeth were inflamed, and I couldn't shut my mouth all the way without pain. I was scared that I would need to have the tooth removed immediately, and I was scared both of the pain and of having to choose between a big bill and a cheap, sleazy dentist.

My boss had asked me if I would be interested in taking a temporary job on Sundays, and I had said yes, even though I was feeling overwhelmed. I had been in a meeting with her yesterday morning, in which she informed be that the job would be far more difficult than I had expected, and I desperately wanted to turn it down, but had been afraid to back out after having agreed to it already.

And, of course, I was grieving a very precious little baby, and waiting to hear news of his mom, whom I love dearly. It was difficult to know that she was in so much pain but not to be able to help. Life had to go on for everyone, and that's what I hate most about death. I hate that the world doesn't stop and join the mourners in a moment of silence. It feels so irreverent.

And now it was time to take my braces off. The hygienist removed a bracket, it hurt like heck, and I burst into tears. It took a few minutes before I recovered, and I think I terrified the little girl sitting next to me, who was about to get her own braces removed. I think that those five minutes or so were the low point of the year for me.

But it's okay! I got through it - we all get through everything that we must, you know - and it wasn't all painful and it didn't last forever. And here are the results:


Today was better. Today, armed with some wonderful newfound knowledge given to me by the lovely Laura, I went to Taco Bell and ordered something that I knew was safe for my baby. I smiled at myself in the mirror with my new braces-free face. I sang Felicity a song, and she smiled at me. I bought a comfortable new dress in a wonderful fall color. I put Felicity in her bassinet after each feeding last night, and she slept there peacefully, allowing me to sleep more deeply between feedings. I emailed my boss and told her that I couldn't accept the job after all. I gave Ariel some colored pencils and a piece of paper, and she made some particularly lovely scribbles. And I have been given a little, practical way that I can be of assistance to my grieving friend.

And so, life goes on. Some days it doesn't seem like it will, but it does. Praise God.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

This week, a very special little baby went to go be with Jesus.

I'm sorry that I never got to meet you, sweetheart.
My heart hurts for your mommy and daddy.
We all loved you already.




Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Good English?

I told Ariel to come here, and she came over and said, "I'm here!" I said, "Good job! Yeah, 'I'm here!' That's very good English! Good job talking!"

Her response?

"Take care! Take care!"

Huh...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sheer Desperation

I am absolutely terrified of being sick. I started coming down with a cold on Thursday, and since then I've been doing whatever I can think of to keep it from becoming full-blown. I cannot imagine what life would be like around here if I was shuffling around in my pajamas with a wad of Kleenex in my hand, and I don't want to find out.

Last month, Ellie started coming down with something, so I made her some garlic lemonade that I had found in a children's health care book. She drank nothing else for 3 days, and the cold completely passed her by. She had a 99 degree fever and two boogers, and she was a little snotty when she cried for more than a minute, but that was it. Here is the recipe:

4 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 cups boiling water
honey to taste

Pour boiling water over garlic and let steep for 20 minutes. Strain to remove garlic, and add lemon juice and honey. Chill and serve.

Well, I decided to make myself some. Maybe because I let it steep way too long (until cool) or maybe because I'm picky, I just couldn't stomach the stuff. I drank about a cup of it over the course of a day and a half.

Yesterday, I told RaeAnn about my plight, and she suggested a few remedies to me. The first was R. W. Knudsen Simply Nutritious Lemon Ginger Echinacea Juice. She said her precious girls had responded similarly to it as Ariel had to the lemonade. She also mentioned someone who swore by eating a whole onion when they started coming down with a cold, and she sent me a link to a friend's homemade tonic.
So, this morning, I went to Fred Meyer and bought the juice, as well as ginger root, horseradish sauce (sadly, they don't carry horseradish root), and yellow chili peppers. The juice is pretty good (and I think it would be really good served hot!). I'm nervous about trying the tonic, which sounds less than yummy, but I haven't made it yet because the blender is in the dishwasher. And I just ate a whole onion, sauted and served with 3 scrambled eggs and a tiny bit of ground breakfast sausage from New Seasons.

May I take this moment to say that buying meat at New Seasons actually feels GOOD? That I no longer feel like I'm paying obscene amounts of money for what is essentially garbage - poultry that is limp and mucous-like, sausage with lord-knows-what ground into it, steaks that I would hesitate to eat rare? New Seasons chicken is thick and firm like steak, and their sausage looks good enough to eat, which I can't always say about a lot of the other junk out there. They make their sausage right there out of fresh ground pork and spices. So, yeah, I can't tell you how excited I am to have a source of edible meat.

Anywho, I'll make the tonic this afternoon, and let you all know later if my illness-fighting efforts are successful...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Review No. 4: French Vanilla Coffeemate


This listed sodium caseinate as "less than 2%." I had some in my coffee, and it was delicious. And then Felicity spent the evening screaming. F

Review No. 3: Rice Dream


Not too bad on cereal. I'm not interested in trying it plain in a glass. But poured over my Cinnamon Life, it really isn't that inferior to milk. And, really, that's all I need it for. A

The Stars Are Aligned Against Me

I'm coming down with a cold, my teeth are rubber-banded shut, and I can't eat dairy. God hates me. On the flip side, Felicity was calm and angelic during her bath this evening...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Review No. 2: Whole Soy & Co. Yogurt


I really tried hard not to be grossed out by this. I told myself, "This will not be just like yogurt, so don't expect it to be." I tried not to think about the fact that it was made of soy. And, while it was impossible to completely clear my mind, I think that I was objective enough to fairly conclude that this stuff is gross. I mean, not horrible, but certainly not something that I would choose to eat by itself. Maybe I'll try spreading a little on a piece of bread or something like that. But forget using this as a Yoplait substitute. D+

Review No. 1: Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread


This product claims that it "tastes, spreads and bakes like rich butter." I haven't tried baking it, and it's hard to spread it since it's supposed to be refrigerated, but I can tell you that it definitely doesn't TASTE anything like butter. That's okay, though, because I wasn't expecting an amazing flavor. It tastes just dandy for margarine, and I like that it's completely non-hydrogenated and that all the oils are expeller-pressed. And 100% vegan means there's no sneaky little milk proteins hiding in here! B+

Exploring the World of Faux Food

Yesterday afternoon, I went shopping. My objective: locate non-dairy foods that claim to be dairy-like and determine the accuracy of said claims. I read labels carefully, and was not pleased to discover that many of these products contained casein. I decided that, since Felicity seemed fine when I had a little butter on my toast, I would try products that listed casein as "2 percent or less."

When I got to the checkout, I realized I had forgotten to read the label on my pretend cheddar, which, I then discovered, contained a notable amount of milk solids. If you could/wanted to consume milk solids, wouldn't you just buy real cheese? The only reason I can imagine for eating soy cheese that still has milk in it is masochism.

So, after returning the cheese to the "dairy" case, I purchased my soy yogurt, soy sour cream, buttery vegetable oil spread, soy pudding, rice milk, and coffee creamer and headed home to put them to the test! You can look forward to my product reviews in the future, if that's the sort of thing you look forward to...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I like cheese

So, Felicity has been having very broken-out, red skin and screaming a lot, and Peggy (my lactation consultant) said that it may be an allergy to something that I'm eating. On Friday, I started an allergen-free diet. Read: no DAIRY, CHOCOLATE, soy, eggs, wheat, peanut butter, or corn. It seemed like Felicity was cheerier Friday and Saturday, but Saturday night she was cranky again as well as this afternoon.

Well, this afternoon was a small Mary Kay party at Robin's house, and she served wine along with various cheeses. After drooling for awhile (and probably annoying everyone at the party with my out-loud arguments with myself), I decided to go ahead and have some and see what happened. And dang nabbit, that was some good cheese!

I was greeted with this when I got home this evening:

Two of my favorite people having a wonderful time playing together! It's great how much Dan enjoys Ariel. They really have become best buddies, especially lately. Apparently, Ariel put her daddy's hat on backwards all by herself. She's got a real sense of style!

I've nursed Felicity twice since coming home this evening, and each time, her face has gone from relatively clear to this:

So.... I think she's allergic to dairy. Which totally sucks, because dairy is pretty much my life. I have to "run a few more tests" to be sure, but I really don't know what I'm going to do if this turns out to be the case. It doesn't seem like there's a good answer. Give up dairy? I'll be so miserable! Wean Felicity? I'd feel guilty forever! Eat dairy anyway? I'd be torturing my kid!

If anyone knows some really good substitute dairy products, please post brand names and where to get them in the comments section!

Friday, September 7, 2007

A sentence of her own

Ariel made up a sentence all by herself yesterday - first time! She had been disobeying (imagine that!), and I decided to give her a time-out. She had been in her playpen in the other room for maybe 45 seconds when she started hollering, "I'm in here! I'm in here! I'm in here!" Sadly, she had stopped by the time Dan got the camera out, so no video. It was SO cute, though!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Oops!

Haha! It's funny the stuff that you don't find out until you've already done something dumb! Like last week I learned that nut butters shouldn't be kept for more than a couple weeks, even in the fridge (this is pure nut butter, of course, not the hydrogenated stuff). The week before I had fed 2-month-old (at least) almond butter to Ariel. Today we had a lunch that included hummus. I thought it didn't taste quite the same as before, so I just looked it up. 1 week max, apparently. This stuff was 3 weeks old at least. And yet, she's still alive. Say a little prayer for our stomachs as I venture further into the realm of unpreserved foods! I really think this stuff should be printed on labels more often...

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Good moms make smoothies, right?

Probably my greatest culinary failing thus far has been smoothies. Every time I try to make one, it turns out tasting funny. At least I think it tastes funny - maybe I'm not supposed to be comparing them to Jamba Juice?

Anyway, my SIL suggested I change yogurt brands, so I did, and today I tried making a smoothie from strawberry-flavored Mountain High Yoghurt, fresh blackberries, vanilla, milk powder, a little milk, and a little ice. It turned out ok. Dan says it would have been better with honey, but it was too late, plus I was trying to deny my own sweet tooth. I tried giving some to Ariel in a sippy cup, but, not surprisingly, it wouldn't go through the little holes. So I took the lid off and gave her a straw. Then, after watching her try to use the straw like a spoon, her daddy thought she would have an easier time with a bowl and spoon. The results?


I think she looks like an unshaven Alec Baldwin. The resemblance was clearer in person. Not only does she have a little mustache and goatee, she even has a tie!

So, healthy or not, my daughter is NOT ready for smoothies, because I'm not ready for the mess. She went straight to the bathtub, where we put a bath fizzy in the tub that she got as a gift (coincidentally, also from my SIL). Well, seeing a ball fizz under the water and make orange bubbles was apparently a very traumatic experience, and Ellie went from nervous whining to outright crying. She was too upset to stay in the tub, so we washed everything but her hair. Oh, well!

Milk Face

I said I'd post it, so here it is...


And, also for your viewing pleasure:



I'd say she's completely warmed up to him. At first it was 100% Mommy, but now I don't think there's much favoritism going on apart from when she wants to nurse. She naps on his chest almost every day, and they often fall asleep together at night and then I take her when she wakes up to eat. Very sweet!