Saturday, January 29, 2011

Winter sickies

I have about 15 unfinished posts about somewhat interesting topics, but I haven't been able to complete them for whatever reason. This week has been less than stellar. Lacey has some type of plague. It started with croup overnight followed by a fever and then standard cold symptoms. She is still spiking fevers (its been 5 days now), she has absolutely no appetite, although she is drinking plenty, her cough is nasty and she looks like crap. I took her to the peds twice to have her checked for EI, strep, bronchitis, but she is looking clear of infection. I figured she would be on the upswing by now, but no deal. Today we had the pleasure of our very first cough-till-ya-puke experience. Poor Lacey, we felt so bad for her. At least she did me a favor and gave it up on the hardwood floor instead of the carpet. Since she is totally disinterested in food we blended frozen blueberries/raspberries/blackberries with silken tofu and some juice and we spoon fed her that over the course of the day. She wouldn't take any chicken noodle soup or soft bread or cheerios even. Poor little bugger.

I have not left the house all week other than preschool dropoff/pickup and going to the peds, which is kind of tough for me. Even though I am not a super-social person, I get cabin fever easily. I am not the stay at home mom that actually stays at home! Hopefully she turns a corner tomorrow or we will be going back to the pediatrician. Just in time, Lana, Bill and I all have sore throats--here comes Round 2! Ugh.

I thought last winter was bad with the sickness, but this year has been worse. We have had 4 colds since Christmas, roughly one/week. That doesn't count the 10 we have had since September. Luckily, the first 14 colds have been pretty mild and normal in duration, but this one has the potential of knocking us out. We have blown through the Costco sized tissues and its only January! We are getting ready to do a bunch of traveling, I really hope we get the sickies our of the way before our trips.

So that's me whining about illness. It could be worse though, it could always be worse.

I am also feeling pretty low this week b/c I heard that a co-worker of mine from my postdoc passed away unexpectedly. He was 38 and leaves behind a wife and two very young children. I can't stop thinking about it, the senseless tragedy of it, how his wife and kids will carry on. I know many people think that everything happens for a reason and its God's plan and all that, but I don't really see how his kids will be better off without him. Plus, he was a really nice person, who was really smart and successful.

Well, that was depressing. It also puts things into perspective, like not being able to leave the house b/c your kid is a booger factory. Totally not a big deal. At all.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I don't think I am in a funk or anything, but life has been just...there. Routine. Normal. I don't want to tempt the fates because sometimes not very exciting is actually okay. I'll definitely take it over something catastrophic, but I have not been feeling very inspired to blog, to socialize, to tackle projects, etc. Maybe its the post-holiday lull, or maybe its the rain, although I totally hesitate to crab about the weather here--its been in the high 40s/low 50s which is pretty awesome for January even if its a bit gray. Things have been just a bit--meh.

We have been spending a lot of time planning a vacation! To a warm place, with sun! In April! This is good, very good. The sucky part will be getting there--its a long journey with the kids, although I am not the least bit worried about Lana, its Lacey--she is not going to sit nicely in the seat on the plane. But once we get there, it should be good--it better be good!

We have also finally upgraded our camera and got a digital SLR. Our point and shoot was incapable of capturing Lacey b/c every time we clicked, she moved and we would either get a blurry shot or one of those drunk-looking eyes half open shots. I actually felt like we were not documenting her properly in photos, so now we are getting to know our new camera and I promise some super great photos soon of Lacey in all her cuteness. Lana too, but she is far more cooperative with holding still and smiling. Plus we have a million photos of Lana and like 3 of Lacey--poor second child!

Instead of being a super snappy blogger these days, I have been really trying to stay on top of things around the house. Nothing radical, just not letting stuff get out of control. (Thanks Beth, for the inspiration). I have also been trying to enjoy the simple moments with the kids. Lana has been SO MUCH FUN! She is thriving in school, especially the social part--she just loves her friends and her teachers. She comes home with great stories with lots of detail. She loves to tell jokes, except she doesn't really "get" jokes, so they go something like this:

"How did the toilet walk through the door?"
"Lana, I have no idea, please tell me."
"He turned into a sumo wrestler!! HAHAHAHA"

Yep, they make no sense, but that's what makes us laugh. I love the purity of her laugh too. She has been just delightful to be with, my little friend. Lana has also been a lot more affectionate recently, which is equally delightful. Oh, we still have our moments, but all-in-all this stage has been absolutely wonderful and satisfying as a parent.

Lacey has been having a developmental explosion! She loves to play peek-a-boo, with a blanket over her face or in the playhouse or tent. She just cracks herself up. She is really into her dolls--hugging them, "feeding" them, rocking them. She is a hugger, a lover and oh my goodness I just eat it up! She is still night waking every single friggen night--anywhere from 2-5 times per night. She cries, we leave her alone and she goes back to sleep on her own. Still waiting patiently for her to figure it out. Still waiting patiently to get better sleep myself, sigh.

Lacey's language skills are exploding as well. Here are words she is saying at almost 16 months:
Nana (Lana)
Baw (ball)
Bow (bowl)
Doe (door)
Di-do (grandma dianne)
Amma (my MIL)

She is also blowing kisses, can identify her eyes, nose, ears, teeth, tongue, hair, toes, hands, belly button and waves bye-bye. It is absolutely amazing to me how much she understands--she can follow simple commands, like go get the doll, sit down, stand up, follow me, etc. I am noticing a fiesty streak in her, despite her being a pretty "easy" baby. Maybe its a little foreshadowing of the dreaded terrible twos. Eeek.

Lacey's eating is still frustrating me, but that's a subject for another post. I am taking her to an occupational therapist that specializes in feeding and sensory issues in a couple of weeks. We'll see how that goes.

Ah, this post is all over the place, but I am okay with that. I don't know what is up with me lately. I lack energy and motivation. I have been getting a lot of headaches. I think about putting into action some ideas to make the day-to-day run a little smoother and ways to carve out some time to do something for ME, something that will lift my spirit, make me feel good inside. Right now I need to get my butt in gear and follow through. I need to stop being a spectator. I need to have some fun on the weekends. Blah.

Maybe I am in a funk after all.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Vegan Pumpkin Pie and Other Dairy-Free Pursuits

Since going dairy-free, I have had to let go of some yummy things and search around for suitable substitutes. Ice cream and pizza have been the hardest. But also, store bought or restaurant made desserts are pretty much out of the question for me b/c butter is in everything. Lucky for me, I have found some suitable substitutes. I know that most people aren't dairy-free, but you never know when you might have a vegan friend over for dinner :)

After trying lots of gritty soymilk ice creams, I found the SO Decadent brand of coconut milk ice cream. Each flavor has a hint of Coconut flavor, so if you get the Vanilla, it will taste more like Vanilla Coconut, but they do an awesome job on the Chocolate flavor--which tastes more Chocolate than Coconut Chocolate. The thing they nail is the texture--its creamy, just like ice cream, but doesn't melt the same way. Nonetheless, it is far superior to soy-based ice cream. I can eat sorbet too, but in my opinion it doesn't have the same satisfaction as a creamy ice cream.

The SO Decadent Coconut Milk coffee creamer is just okay. Silk soy creamer blows--its like putting skim milk in your coffee, unless you like that sort of thing. By far the best dairy free creamer is the Trader Joes Soy Creamer and at $1.49, its a steal. Its super-creamy and is unflavored. Incidentally, the Coffee Mate Creamer says non-dairy on the front, but if you read the label, there is casein, a milk derivative, which is a problem for us food allergy peeps. I have become a relentless label reader and you would be surprised as to all of the foods that contain milk.

Pizza has been something really hard for me to let go of. Soy and rice milk cheeses are generally gross and don't melt well. The rice milk cheese actually has casein in it, so its not a safe food for me--sadly, I learned the hard way. I crave pizza, I dream about it sometimes--so sad. I suppose I could try making a pizza with lots of toppings but no cheese, but this sounds weird to me--cheese IS the pizza! Oh well.

I am not a baker. I love to cook, but baking has never been my thing. Now that I can pretty much never have dessert unless I make it myself, I have been searching out dairy-free recipes that are easy enough and yummy too. My big find so far has been this Vegan Pumpkin Pie Recipe from Vegetarian Times. I don't bother with the crust b/c Pillsbury makes a premade pie crust that does not contain milk or butter. I just make the filling, pour into the shell and bake. Oh, the recipe calls for granulated sugar cane syrup--I just used the same amount of regular sugar. WTH is granulated sugar cane syrup? How can something be granulated and a syrup at the same time? Anyway, the results are wonderful--great texture and just the right balance of spice. Yum!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Our family holiday

What a busy, festive, joyful whirlwind of a holiday season it has been! I am kind of glad its over in a way, to get back to our normal routine. But we had a great great time with family this year. My grandmother bravely traveled from Florida to Seattle, her first solo trip after Grandpa's passing, just to be with us this Christmas. She stayed with my mom who also hosted her youngest brother, my Uncle and his lovely girlfriend who visited from Phoenix. This was significant for my mom b/c this is her first holiday in her new home and she got to have guests in her guest bedrooms, much to her delight.

We had Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners at our house and my inlaws came as well, so we had a full house of family, which is how I remember holidays when I was growing up--lots of people, good food, loud talking and laughter, lots and lots of gifts, desserts and candy, etc. Ever since I moved away, holidays were different. I often traveled and split time between my parents or my boyfriend's family. Then when Bill and I were in San Diego we spent some holidays with my family or his, or sometimes we spent it just the two of us or with friends. It seemed like I would never have one of those holidays from my childhood with the house full of family and no place else to rush off to. But this year we did--4 generations, two cultures, the young, the old. It was wild at times--pandemonium even. I remember saying, "Hurry, we have to open gifts and get the kids in bed before they fall apart! Everyone in the living room NOW. We'll do dishes later." We didn't take too many photos, but we did enjoy great food and each other. The kids made my grandma smile, even when it was clear she didn't feel like smiling. Lana LOVES my Uncle's girlfriend--LOVES her! They played and colored and pretended. Bill cooked (a true holiday for me) an amazing meal--he even dry aged a prime rib in our basement wine cooler for a week--I was a little skeptical and was afraid we would be eating moldy meat, but it turned out perfect. I made my vegan pumpkin pie again--it rocks. What I will remember most about our Christmas this year is when I looked around the table at dinner and saw all of us sharing a great day together and just when I was taking it all in, Lana announced that she wanted to share what we were thankful for, just like at Thanksgiving, and around the table we went, sharing our blessings, wishing each other a Merry Christmas.