Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Moments Away from a Sugar Binge

Well, it's been two weeks now since I diagnosed myself with gestational diabetes, and I have to say that I've been doing a good job of following my low-carb diet and exercising after meals.

The only problem is that I still have five months to go, and I am already on the verge of falling off the wagon.

Before I head off on a sugar binge, though, I thought I'd pause and write a little bit about what's tempting me.

A few days ago I went into our local COBS Bread to buy a seedy low-carb loaf of bread that I would actually be able to eat more than half a slice of. I've visited this bakery before with no ill effects, but this time I left with severe cravings for "Apricot Delight" (a bread they make that is LOADED with dried apricots and raisins--or in other words, SUGAR). I could not get the smell of freshly cooked bread out of my nose, and I have seriously been dreaming of pastries, pizza rolls, and hot cross buns every night.


When I wake up, it's a different craving that plagues me. Every morning--when I am not diabetic--I drink a glass of orange juice. This is to me as a cup of coffee is to many of my non-LDS counterparts. I need my glass of orange juice--it's what gets me out of bed in the morning and helps me through the day. I never drink more than one glass, and I don't crave it at any other time of day. I just love my morning juice. Now, I can have half an orange but no juice. It's rough.


And then there's chocolate. I've always been a chocolate lover--not over-doing it, of course, but enjoying at least a little bit every day or so. Now I can only have a tiny taste every now and then. I've made up for this by buying lots of chocolate for Ben and Janae's Easter baskets--it's as though I'm planning to live vicariously through them on that special chocolatey day. But I'm not sure it's going to work.


As for the break down I'm on the verge of, don't worry too much. The most concentrated form of sugar I actually have in the house (besides the Easter treats, which I honestly would never touch, and a little bit of jam or pancake syrup) is a box of Peak Freans Digestive Biscuits. Yes, they're chocolate covered, but they don't have much sugar--and I am actually ALLOWED to have two as a snack if I like. The box is less than half full, too.


Of course, the thought of doing any harm to my little baby should be enough to keep me in line, but sometimes I'm not sure how I'll be able to resist such strong and persistent temptations. Anyway, off I go for another piece of peanut butter toast. . . .

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Not Up for "Gritty Realism" Anytime Soon

Lately I've had a couple of experiences with starting to read novels and then having to stop because I couldn't handle the language or content. This is actually new for me--as an English major who became a Master of Arts (I just can't resist, can I?) I've read lots of stuff--I thought I was pretty much desensitized. My sheltered literature students used to accuse me of making them read about nothing but death, adultery, and insanity, and being the hard-core academic I once was, I used to scoff at them.

Looking back at the novels I've closed up after only a chapter or two and returned to the library (one of them even had a sticker that said "Oprah's Book Club"--what a literary whimp I've become!), I noticed they had something in common: both had the phrase "gritty realism" in the promotional material displayed on the back cover. I guess I just can't handle grit anymore. Or realism, either.

I have to blame it on becoming a mom. My world has changed. I think watching Wiggles videos and reading books about how bees make honey has made grit seem extra gritty and realism seem too dark. Let me provide a few examples of the variety of reality I can (almost) handle these days.

I took Benjamin to the bank today (to deposit the coins from his piggy bank he had helped me roll) and he informed the teller that he is saving up for his "next trip to Disneyland"--weren't we just there?? I guess we better start looking for flights--he's already got $63.00!


I took Janae shoe shopping yesterday while Ben was at school. Just one little two-year-old--I should be able to handle that, right? Maybe if I was still eating sugar. As it was, I'm lucky we both didn't get asked to leave the store (with all the screaming and wrestling . . . and all the shoes off the shelves). I say lucky, because Janae got the most adorable little white flats to match her new spring dress.


Have I mentioned Janae and her potty training lately? As you can see, she is still wearing her "big girl undies"--only on top of a diaper. Yes, we've gone back to diapers. She can only wear a Pull-Up for about 10 minutes before it's wet--and Janae anounces that she's got a "poopy diaper." Her antics on the potty have resulted in more time outs than I can count. I guess my counting skills are going downhill, too.


And then there was the little balloon rescue mission this morning. I was looking up some activities for Sharing Time when Ben and Janae somehow detatched Janae's princess balloon from its string . . . and the weight that was holding it down. Ben asked and asked for help, but I kept using that good old mothering phrase, "Just a minute!" When I entered the living room, I saw Ben had taken matters into his own hands. I don't know why I just stood there taking a picture--perhaps my good judgement is also impaired?


Anyway, the point of all this is that I've become quite domesticated over the past few years--I've lost most of my competitiveness, my critical thinking skills, my feminist anger, my academic edge. It's actually quite a peaceful way of life. I just hope I can't be stripped of my master's degree for this!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Many Faces of Chapstick


Yes, Janae has recently discovered chaptick. I have no-one to blame but myself, though--it was actually my idea. Janae had adopted the habit of picking at her lips--when she was tired, bored, etc. This, of course, was better than her picking her nose--but when I had to take her to the nursery at church a few weeks ago with bleeding lips, I knew I'd need to do something.

So the idea popped into my head--if I gave her some chapstick it would distract her from the picking, and it would also moisturize her lips and make them softer--so there would be less there to pick. I ordered a Cinderella chapstick from one of Tina's Avon books and presented it to Janae--her very own chapstick.

It worked, just as I'd imagined. Only more so.

In true Janae fashion, over the past couple of weeks our two-year-old has explored every possible use of chapstick. Here are a couple of her discoveries:

If a little chapstick is good, a lot is better. It not only moisturizes lips, but chins, cheeks, necks, foreheads, and even finger tips. Janae's Cinderella chapstick is purple; the one I keep in my coat pocket is yellow. Janae has been covered in these colors on many occasions lately (better than blood from picking chapped lips, though--right?). We have noticed, though, that her skin is softer and smoother than ever :)


Chapstick works great at bedtime or naptime as a natural sleep aid. Janae goes into a sort of "chapstick trance," applying her lip balm for up to half an hour--then falls asleep with it in her hand. Maybe I should try it!


Janae is also encouraging Benjamin to rediscover chapstick. A couple of years ago, when Ben was really into the movie Cars, I ordered him a Lightening McQueen chapstick. I didn't realize it was bright red until we opened it, so I kind of put it "away"--up high where Ben would forget about it (and not be able to reach it without my help). Well, all of Janae's applying of chapstick has renewed Ben's interest . . . not always with the nicest (or most manly) results :)


Poor Ben--it isn't always easy to keep up with Janae.

Anyway, I'm sure that chapstick is here to stay.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Warning: This Post Only Starts Off Happy . . .

Today was Jason's birthday, and when I asked him what he'd like us to make for him (I say "us" because Ben usually helps me cook, especially on special occasions like this!), he requested chicken fajitas and chocolate chip cookie pie.

Since I love both of those things, too, and neither is difficult to make, I was really excited about the dinner. Ben helped me decorate "Mexican" (it turned out looking more like Christmas, but oh well!), and we enjoyed all the food.


I include this picture not to highlight our decorating, or our mismatched dishes, or even my husband (who is now 36!!). Notice the Sprite on the table. The juice. The tortillas. These are going to be important later.


We finished off with chocolate chip cookie pie with ice cream and caramel sauce--this is one of my favorite desserts (I had it years ago at a restaurant in Provo), and I recently introduced it to Jason. For the full impact, you have to look at the pictures on the blog where I finally found the recipe--http://bakerella.blogspot.com/2008/04/chocolate-chip-cookie-pie-oh-my.html (you'll have to copy and paste the address, but it will be worth the effort!).

After all the festivities, I thought I'd check my blood sugar. When I was pregnant with Janae I had gestational diabetes, but I'm much too early in this pregnancy to take the screening test or be diagnosed. But, I made the "mistake" of asking my doctor about it last week, and he said to watch my sugar--and test myself every once in a while with a finger prick.

I've done a few tests, and everything has come out normal. But after this high-carb dinner and loaded-with-sugar dessert, how would I do? This would be a true test of how I was processing sugar.

Yes, it was.

Where a "recommended reading" would be between 5.5 and 7.7, I scored a 9.9. Too bad it wasn't one of those pop quizzes that are scored out of 10.

Anyway, I called my mom to find out if this meant what I thought it meant.

Yes, it did.

I am not processing sugar properly--a normal person would have a normal reading, even after eating what I ate.

This means that I most likely have gestational diabetes.

And now that I know this, I will have to follow the special low-carb diet that made my last two months of pregnancy with Janae--well, enough to make me say I'd never have another baby (I guess you can never take those vows seriously when made by a pregnant woman). Only this time I still have 6 more months. I know it is a small price to pay for a healthy baby, but it is SO HARD for me to eat such a restricted diet.

AND, we still have 3/4 of a chocolate chip cookie pie in the house! Anyone want to come over for dessert?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Nocturnal Creatures

Benjamin's well-known Halloween obsession seems to have resurfaced a little early this year. Over the past week or so, he has been asking every day--sometimes several times a day--"When will it be Halloween again?" I've answered with everything from "not for a LONG time" to "first we have to start spring, then have Easter, your birthday, summer holidays, a new baby, and the first two months of kindergarten--then it will be Halloween."

Still, Ben has started working on making new Halloween decorations out of his black Lego, including bats and other unidentifyable "scary things." Ben takes his work very seriously and will not allow any of these spookables to be dismantled (believe me, Janae and I know!).

As part of this intense interest in all things Halloween, Benjamin has been asking lots of questions about bats--What do they eat? Where do they live? Do they bite humans? Since my knowledge of bats is quite limited (surprising, I know!), I suggested a trip to our local library.


Here we took out every book and video we could find about bats. Even though most of the books were written for adults, Ben likes to sit and listen to all the information--then he'll say, "Let's play BATS," after which we pretend to be bats for as long as I can possibly stand it.


After a few days of this, Benjamin made a dramatic announcement last night at about 8:30 p.m.: "I decided I'm going to become nocturnal--I'm going to stay up all night, then sleep in the morning." Before I could wonder how this really differed from Ben's usual schedule, Ben had led Janae downstairs in a wild frenzy of dancing, singing, jumping, and screaming (Jason got it all on video if anyone is interested).


Of course, Ben's nocturnal activity lasted only about half an hour before he wanted to read stories and snuggle with his Mama. Still, my nocturnal creatures will probably look like this today.


I guess we only have about 7 more months of this to go. . . .

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Janae's Birthday Unparty that Turned into a Party


Well, Janae turned two on Thursday. When Ben turned two we went to Science World for his birthday instead of having a party (we had a party for his first birthday), so we were thinking we'd do the same for Janae--we'd count Disneyland as her "birthday outing" and forego the party, just for this year.

This idea didn't go over well with Benjamin. Even though we said we'd have a cake for Janae at Grandma and Grandpa's house, he was sad that no-one would be coming over to our house to celebrate Janae's special day.

Seeing Ben's concern for his sister, I broke down and said, "Okay, we'll invite some of your cousins over for cake and ice cream," thinking--just cake and ice cream--not an expensive party with presents, balloons, elaborate food, etc. Thanks to The Mad Hatter, we've all heard of an "unbirthday party"--this was going to be a "birthday unparty."

And it just kind of evolved from there. We couldn't just have cake and ice cream--we'd have to have lunch. And then we'd need some extras like chips, veggies and dip, etc. And then there was that cream cheese/Skor apple dip my friend always serves at her parties . . . this wasn't going to be a party, of course--but when else would I get a chance to make it?

We happened to see some Cinderella napkins at the grocery store (which would match the Cinderella cake I was planning to make), so I thought, "What would be the harm in buying such a small thing? Cinderella napkins won't make it a party."

This morning I sent Jason out to get matching plates (we simply do not have enough plates to serve even cake to 16 people--how did we get 16 people??), and I thought I'd suggest getting Janae a special balloon.


Jason said when they got to the party store (why are we making a stop at the party store??) Janae saw balloons outside and started to say, "Thank you, Daddy!!"

I had to call Jason a couple more times while he was out to have him pick up other last-minute essentials, like cherry tomatoes and strawberries.

Ben wanted to buy Janae a Cinderella dress, and we looked everywhere but couldn't find one (I know, I know--we weren't going to buy presents), so he asked Grandma to make one--and she made a beautiful dress that made Janae look like an absolute princess. Janae loved it as soon as she saw it and wanted to put it on right away.


By the time we'd had lunch, opened the gifts, sung happy birthday, eaten cake and ice cream (I'd ended up making both a cake and cupcakes--with eatable sparkles, too!), no-one could deny that they'd been to a full-out party.


I honestly don't know how it happened, but it was lots of fun!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Something Seems to Be Wrong With Our Scale. . .

Well, here I am finishing up my first trimester of pregnancy #3 (I'll be 13 weeks tomorrow!), and I have to admit that I’m not sure how much weight I have gained.

This is particularly strange because--as many of you know--I am obsessive about weighing myself. I’m not obsessed with my weight, or with dieting, or with exercise--I just have to weigh myself every morning.

So, naturally, day by day, I am aware of how much weight I gain or lose, especially during pregnancy.

Before we left for California, I was 11 weeks pregnant and had gained exactly 5 pounds--so I knew that if I didn’t gain any weight on our vacation, I would be right on track (which really is saying something after my stint with bedrest and dill pickle chips). Some books say to gain 3-5 pounds during the first trimester, and others say 2-4, but the books that say 3-5 were definitely published by more reputable companies and written by more authoritative authors.


Anyway, whether it was all the walking at Disneyland or the staying up all night with sick children—or my own 24 hours with the stomach flu—I came back weighing exactly the same as when I left.

Then the trouble began. Let’s say my weight was 220 when we arrived home, and this stayed the same for a few days. Then on Monday morning when I got up, I weighed 223. Gaining three pounds in one day is definitely within the realm of possibility (especially since the day before was spent at my mom and dad’s house with a birthday cake for Amanda, etc.), but I was shocked. This morning I stepped on the scale hoping to see it back to 220 or even 221, but no—I was up another 4 pounds to 227.


Is it possible to gain 7 pounds in two days? Is this baby growing at an unprecedented rate? Have the dill pickle chips finally caught up with me--now that I’m about to turn . . . let’s say . . . 27 (since I’m changing all the numbers anyway)—maybe I’m going to have to start being more careful?

Can I just assume our scale is broken? Somebody please, back me up here!