Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Big girl in progress

Shhh... don't tell anybody but Oona has been putting most of her pees and poops in the potty. On the other hand, she hasn't napped for about a week. I guess both are signs that she's getting to be a big girl...

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Here's a recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake made with stevia. I miss pumpkin pie but it is just too many carbs and has too much sugar. I can't be specific on the amount of stevia because it really can vary from jar to jar and the kind you get can make a difference. My current jar doesn't have much sweetness and is the kind mixed with maltodextrin. I probably used about 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

crust -
1/2 cup butter
2 cups pecans

4 8 oz packages cream cheese
1 T brown sugar (opt)
stevia to taste (depends on brand, type, jar, etc)
5 eggs
2 cups pumpkin
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 t pumpkin pie spice
1 t vanilla (or 1/2 t vanilla, 1/2 t lemon)

In food processor, blender, or nut grinder/chopper, chop pecans very fine. Melt butter in skillet. Add chopped pecans and cook until toasted. They will become very aromatic. Press into bottom of spring form pan. Refrigerate.

Preheat oven to 350.

Blend cream cheese, brown sugar, and stevia until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, blending after each addition. In a small bowl, combine pumpkin, flour, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla. Add pumpkin mixture to cream cheese mixture and blend until well blended. Pour into spring form pan.

Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or 1 and a half hours or until center is set. Place a pan with an inch of hot water on the shelve below the cake . Turn oven off, leaving the cheesecake in the oven and leave oven door open for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a cooling rack. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Why do I even try?

So far, there are two parenting of toddler challenges that severely try my patience. Excuse me while I vent for a moment. First - Potty traing. Oona refuses to go for me. There is some sort of power struggle or something there. I so desparately want her to be potty trained. We've tried many different things and all I get is "no." She'll go for her teachers at school. But for some reason she won't go at home. Praise doesn't work. Suggestions don't work. Bribery doesn't work. I don't think telling her she has to sit on the potty chair until she goes would work either. She would just hold it and I would be bald from tearing all my hair out. Making her wear soiled underwear wouldn't work either because I would have to hold and wrestle her until the requisite time was up.

Second - napping. Why do I even try to get Oona down for a nap? Except that she's entirely way too cranky by dinner time and the other night she fell asleep before dinner and when she woke up she was super duper cranky. I get so infuriated, though, putting in all the effort to get her to go to sleep - the same techniques that have worked previously and the only ones that I've tried that were at all effective - and then she refuses to sleep even though it is so clearly obviously that she is tired and needs a nap. A week or so ago, I decided to give up. But then she surprised me and fell asleep several days in a row with super long naps. So I thought to myself, well, then I should at least try to get her down for a nap. I'm thinking now, that since it reduces me to grinding my teeth and pulling my hair and biting my clothing, that I should go back to giving up. I just won't have much sympathy for her when she's crying and cranky come 5 o'clock.

Luckily, I don't have super picky eaters. I think that would be the third thing.

We can't force them to pee or poop when we want them to and where we want them to. We also can't force them to fall asleep when and where we think they should. And you can't force them to eat something. I've had moments of gagging and wretching and tears at the table from older children and it is not pleasant. Oh, the frustrations!

Teenager parenting challenges that really get me are talking back, the teenager feeling the need to teach the parent a lesson, the parent being the stupidest person ever because teenagers know everything. You know - boundary issues. Teenagers and toddlers together? You get a lot of "You're not going to tell ME what to do!" You wanna bet? There are consequences.

Monday, November 15, 2010


My friend Chelsea has been writing about her choices for how she lives which has been very thought provoking in a good way. Her posts have gotten me thinking about choices and priorities and how difficult it can be to make those choices and set those priorities.

First, I'm one of those people who says that I don't buy all organic because it is too expensive for me - I can't afford it. I realize that that isn't true. But if I chose to afford it, I would have to change other financial and dietary priorities.

I find the excuses "I can't afford it," or "I don't have the time" are usually cover ups for other reasons that you don't make a particular choice. Neither statement is actually true. If you so wished, you would find the time or the money to make it happen, just as Chelsea has with her choices in spite of hardship.

We are faced with so many choices in this world. How do we choose? Sometimes, we just follow along somewhat unreflectively with what our mothers did, or what our friends are doing. Ultimately, we are forced to prioritize. As true as it is that we could afford it or could have enough time, most of us don't have infinite financial resources and there are only twenty-four hours in a day. We have to decide what is the most important and what we can let go of. These priorities inform the choices we make and the excuses we make for not making other choices.

I think eating organically is ideal, but my priorities of following a lower carb diet including plenty of meat protein, feeding two teenage step-sons whose tastes in food were established before I arrived on the scene, and having the primary financial goal of becoming completely debt free all mean that eating organic cannot be my top priority at the moment. Organic meats are significantly more expensive than non and our grocery bill would double if we stuck to organic only. This would make paying off those pesky student loans take way longer than we are currently committed too.

See, priorities. Sometimes we make them consciously, sometimes unreflectively, and sometimes there are physical, emotional, or spiritual reasons for them, either positive and expansive or negative and limiting. It is interesting and most likely good to think about why you make the choices you make. The challenge, I think, is to make the choices without being defensive about them, to allow your choices to change as priorities shift, and to be as non-judgmental as possible of others choices and priorities.

I, personally, am never insecure (ha!) and am never defensive (ha, again!) about the choices I make. I always worry that I have made the wrong choice. So, for me, the challenge is also to feel good about my choices. You do the best you can with what you have and what you know, right?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"marriage is a verb"

My maternal grandparents will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary in January (knock on wood). My grandmother is almost 92 and has dementia and has good and bad days but really has no short term memory. Some days all she knows is her husband and I've heard stories of her sitting and holding his hand, talking about "her Gerry." My grandfather is 89, has congestive heart failure, and can't walk because of knee and hip pain (three hip replacements in the same hip over his lifetime). Recently, my cousin, who is getting married in the spring, asked my grandfather about his philosophy on marriage. She reported back the results, the most intriguing of which is that marriage is a verb.

Marriage as a verb is a wonderful way of looking at it. I like that. And it's nice and refreshing to hear stories of long lasting marriages and the commitment it takes to have one.

One of my teenage boys went on a sleepover the other night and had the privilege (?) of hearing his friend's Dad call his friend's Mom a whore. We had a talk about verbal abuse and how NOT okay it is. I secretly hope that this woman can find a way out of her marriage. Divorce, imo, should not be the first answer for any marriage. But abuse should also never be tolerated and that is when I appreciate that society does allow for divorce these days.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

32 weeks

I had a mid-wife appointment yesterday. As you may remember, I was worried about this one because I really didn't want to have so many ultrasounds, etc, etc, and was feeling like my mid-wife was under the thumb of the OB and what was the point of being with a mid-wife anyway? Yesterday's appointment was a complete about face, 180 degree turn around. My mid-wife was really happy with my blood sugar numbers and was completely unworried about the placenta. I might have one more ultrasound which is a HUGE difference from weekly ultrasounds from 34 weeks on. So that is good news. Baby is obviously growing. I wasn't going to look at the scale when I got weighed yesterday, but I did and I've already gained over forty pounds, yikes. I've been told that I'm all belly but just my belly can't account for forty pounds. I'm trying to focus on keeping my blood sugars balanced and not on freaking out about how much weight I'll want to lose once the baby is born.

I think I need to obsess about numbers less, don't you think?

Baby boy is usually in a funny half breech, half transverse position with his head up by my liver (upper right), his butt by my sigmoid colon (lower left) and his feet kind of up by his face, kicking away. It's too soon to worry about that, though, and at least with him not head down, pre-term labor is much less likely. I'll start worrying if he hasn't turned by 38 weeks and that is six weeks away. Almost everybody else feels like this is a very short time. For me, if I think about it too much, I feel like I'm going to be pregnant forever.