Thursday, April 22, 2010

some more photos!

Here are a few more photos from the month of April, including pics from Easter Sunday. To see them, click here!

Monday, March 29, 2010

photos from january-march 2010

I have created a new photo album on Facebook with pictures from the first quarter of 2010, including my new haircut, Nick's birthday, etc. To see the album, even if you don't have a Facebook account, click here!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

my poor baby

To bring you up to speed if you don't know what's been going on, Nick has been pretty sick. He threw up several times on Saturday. He seemed much better on Sunday, but on Sunday night, he threw up in bed, with blood in the vomit. He also had a swollen eyelid and a rash on his face. We took him to the ER, and the doc there didn't really know what was wrong. He gave Nick Benadryl and Prednisone (thinking maybe allergic reaction) and an antibiotic cream for the rash (thinking maybe impetigo). While he was in the ER, Nick's "rash" spread rapidly, covering his forehead, between his eyes, and his nose, with some on his cheeks and chin. I felt really uneasy about his vague "diagnosis", and hated giving him the meds, not really knowing if he needed them or what was really wrong.

Yesterday, he had a follow-up appointment with a pediatrician (loved her!), and her best guess is that Nick has Henoch-Schoenlein purpura. This is pretty rare, and is a type of vasculitis (an inflammation of the blood vessels) thought to be caused by a faulty response of the immune system that can be triggered by any number of things - the trigger is often unknown. In Nick's case, it's possible that what he had on Saturday was just a stomach bug, and that triggered the later episode. Or, maybe the vomiting Saturday was part of the HSP. We just don't know. Anyway, the immune system ostensibly freaks out and causes small blood vessels in the skin to bleed, causing the purpura on the skin - Nick's "rash." The one thing about his case that is somewhat odd is that his purpura are on his face. Normally, they present on the lower body, but the doc said that facial presentation isn't unheard of. It can also cause bleeding of small vessels in the GI tract and the kidneys - this explains his bloody vomit; he obviously had a "bleed" in his stomach.

His case seems relatively mild; the doc is not 100% sure that's what it is, but she's pretty positive. It's the only thing that explains all of his symptoms, it's most common in children, and it's twice as common in boys as in girls. It's somewhat scary, because if bleeding occurs in the kidneys, it can cause kidney damage, and in rare cases, lead to kidney failure. After his appointment, Nick had to have blood drawn (That was a complete nightmare - he totally freaked out!) and have a urinalysis done. Luckily, these tests were all normal. They have to be repeated in 3 months and again in 6 months to make sure he's OK, because the kidney damage can appear later. But given the relative mildness of his case and the fact that these tests were fine, the doctor is quite confident that his kidneys won't be affected.

Apparently, this can last for up to 6 weeks, and it's possible that more purpura will appear on Nick's body. We also have to keep a close eye on his urine and stool for signs of blood. I have also learned that in the future, if he gets sick or his immune system gets "triggered" some other way, he could suffer a recurrence of HSP. I really hope that doesn't happen!

He's doing pretty well today. He's still tired and not 100%, but his purpura seem to be improving, and he has no other symptoms. So, he's back at school, and the nurse is keeping an eye on him.

If you're interested in reading more about this, here's a really good link:

Friday, January 29, 2010

personal snow day

Well, school isn't cancelled today, but I elected to keep Nick (and myself) at home. Brian isn't here to help me, so I really don't want to take any chances. That hill out of our neighborhood is just too iffy. Sigh. So, here Nick and I are, having a lazy morning. So far, it's been pretty nice, actually - we cuddled a bit, and I made him a special "snowfast", with a waffle with syrup and cereal with milk. (Usually on a school day, he eats his cereal dry.) It was nice not to have to nag him to hurry up and eat for once! :)

The falling snow is quite pretty. There's not much on the ground yet, but it's still falling, and it doesn't take much to make the roads slick. Later today, Nick and I will bundle up and hike to the mailboxes (they're at the entrance to the 'hood) to get our mail. I am bummed that my Dad won't be visiting, and I'm especially bummed that I won't be able to work out today. I have to miss Pilates class tomorrow, too. Even if I could get there, there's no childcare at the gym on Saturday mornings, and Brian will still be gone. :(

I did lose a pound this week, so I know I should be pleased and feel like I'm moving in the right direction. I'm just feeling kind of down about it, though, because I measured myself this morning and found that I have actually regained an inch in my waist, hips, and each thigh. And anyone who knows me knows that I hate the generous girth of my thighs, so even an inch back on them is pretty depressing for me. I think that taking my measurements was a reality check. I mean, it's one thing to see one's weight creep up a little on the scale, but to ascertain that one is actually physically larger is sort of a slap in the face. I know that an inch isn't much, but I just always feel like it's a slippery slope and that I'm *this close* to losing control of the whole shebang. It's hard to accept that I have to be so vigilant and careful to keep the weight off, but apparently, that's my fate. Why can't I be one of those waifs who couldn't gain weight if she tried? :)

Hope everyone has a nice day and stays warm and safe!

Monday, January 25, 2010

so far, so good!

Well, so far I've been managing to do quite well with my eating. I've stayed right around 1600 calories each day, and have actually been slightly exceeding my goals of 30 g fiber and 70 g protein. Yay! It's tough, though - my stomach was not used to being limited to 1600 calories/day, so it's going through an adjustment period, and I've had to deal with hunger a few times. :( Hopefully, that will get better over the next week or so.

Over the past two weeks, I've managed to work out 6 days one week and 5 the next, which isn't bad at all! I know I need to step up my cardio, though, because I'm simply not getting enough of that. Blech! I hate doing cardio! :) Weights, I could do all day (well, until my muscles fail, anyway).

Here's a shout-out to my Patty-friend, who is also doing the whole calorie-counting, working out thing. You go, girl! I know you can do it, and I'm supporting you from afar. Keep up the good work!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

another zinger from nick

This morning, Nick came into my bedroom and pulled the covers off of me. I sleep in only a pair of underwear, so my hands quickly flew to my chest area, whereupon Nick said "Yeah - thanks for covering those up."

Friday, January 22, 2010

a big, fat post about food

Hey, all! I know, I know - so far, I really haven't been making good on my goal of posting more often in 2010. Sorry! Hopefully, this post will redeem me a little bit. :)

So, over the past few months, I've been struggling with an extra few pounds. Now, don't get me wrong - I realize that a few pounds is really no big deal, and that I shouldn't complain. So, I'm not complaining! I'm simply going to do something about it. I would like to weigh about 5 pounds less than I do now. It might seem like a small difference, but I just know that I was satisfied with my weight when it was 5 pounds less, and now, I'm a smidgen dissatisfied. So, I'm finally going to do something about it. That something is comprised of continuing to work out most days of the week and limiting myself to 1600 calories most days of the week. Measuring food and counting calories works, but it happens to be a pain in the bohunkus, which is why I have resisted doing it again for some time. I have finally decided to just put on my big girl panties and deal with it, though, and today marks the first day of counting calories again.

On several occasions, people have asked me about what kinds of foods I eat and in what proportions. It seems like once you lose 60+ pounds, your eating habits develop a certain cache and become quite the object of intrigue! I will be the first to admit that my diet is not at all perfect - for one thing, I eat alarmingly few veggies. I would like to think that I make up for that somewhat by eating a lot of fruit and taking a multivitamin. :) Also, I don't really cook, and rely on a lot of convenience food. I'll just come right out and say that some of the food I buy and eat is downright exorbitant. I realize that this won't work for some people, who either can't or don't want to spend that kind of money on food. I came to the conclusion long ago, though, that while I'm VERY frugal in lots of areas, food is just one area where I am willing to splurge. If I will end up throwing away the whole grapefruit but will suck down the expensive jar of grapefruit sections, then to me, it's worth every penny to buy the jar. What it all boils down to is that I know myself, and I know that I'm sort of lazy when it comes to preparing food. I have made peace with that, and instead of constantly struggling to change it, I have just given in. If there is a convenience food that will make it more likely for me to eat a certain food group or get certain nutrients, then I'm going for it!

Other than maximum convenience, here are some things that I look for when grocery shopping: With very few exceptions, I buy only whole grain products. The only time I buy non-whole grain is when I can't find a whole grain version (For example, I can't find any whole wheat pretzels around here!). I always buy skim milk and low-fat cheeses, yogurts, and ice creams. When I buy meat, it's always lean, such as 93% lean ground beef. And when buying prepared/convenience foods, I always compare labels to try to get the lowest level of sodium, fat, and sugar that I can find and the highest level of protein and fiber. Yes, I do fork over for low-sodium and no-salt-added products. It's just another one of those areas where I am willing to spend the money. Interestingly, I am NOT willing to spend the extra money on organics, although that day may come. I do my very best to avoid products with high fructose corn syrup and/or hydrogenated oil, and in general, I try to buy products with the shortest, simplest lists of ingredients.

In my current weight-loss quest, I am limiting myself to 1600 calories a day. No one should ever go below 1200 calories a day, and even that amount would be hard to maintain. I am not, at this point, worrying too much about keeping track of sugar, fat, or sodium - I buy foods with lesser amounts of these to begin with, and I know that unless I eat out, I am staying more or less within healthy limits of these with the foods I keep in my kitchen. I AM keeping track of fiber and protein, because these are two hugely important factors in having enough energy, feeling fuller for longer, and staying regular. I am shooting for 30 g of fiber and 70 g of protein each day.

I thought that it might be neat if I actually posted the foods I'm eating today for everyone to see. This will definitely not be a daily thing, as that would be too time-consuming. but I might do it every so often, just to offer up a "slice of life" picture of my eating habits. So far, I have had breakfast, a snack, and lunch, which have totaled 1000 calories. Notice that I eat the majority of my calories by early afternoon. I've said it a million times, and I'll say it again here - you've got to eat a good breakfast!!! So many women I know don't have breakfast or have a tiny, piddling one - this is not good! It's imperative to have a well-rounded breakfast rich in carbs, protein, and fiber to stoke your metabolism for the day and give you energy. My breakfast comes in at about 450 calories, which really surprises some people. But, you'd be amazed at how much better you'll feel if you'll eat a big (healthy) breakfast and shift more of your calories to earlier in the day.

Without any further ado, I'll stop rambling and get to the actual food log:

1 cup Cheerios w/ 1/2 cup skim milk and a small banana (This combo is a powerhouse of fiber, protein, calcium, whole grain, and potassium.)
1 Thomas' 100% whole wheat mini-bagel w/ 1/2 Tbsp. Promise activ margarine (This margarine is one of those very expensive foods I buy. I like it because it has plant sterols, which help control cholesterol. It also has no trans fats and is very low-calorie.)
a cup of instant coffee with 3 tsp. of flavored Coffee-Mate powdered creamer and 1 heaping tsp. of Metamucil Clear & Natural fiber supplement (adds 5g fiber to my morning!)
1 multivitamin, 1 1000-mg fish oil capsule, and 1 400-IU vitamin D supplement

This breakfast was 450 calories and had 13.5 g of fiber and 13 g of protein, for a very good start!

1/2 cup Fage Total 2% Greek yogurt (This is packed with protein!! Some people eat the 0% fat-free version of this yogurt, but I don't like the taste, and I like a little fat in my snack - some fat is needed to help the body absorb other nutrients and to promote satiety. Warning - this yogurt is also very expensive.)
1/2 cup frozen peach slices
1/8 cup Trader Joe's High Fiber Cereal sprinkled on top (This adds a little fiber and crunch to the "parfait". One could also use Fiber One cereal or something similar.)

This snack was 120 calories and had 3 g of fiber and 10.5 g of protein!

2 slices Nature's Own Double Fiber Wheat bread (whole grain with omega-3s and only 50 calories and 5 g of fiber per slice!) with 1 pouch Starkist Sandwich-Ready Tuna Salad (another convenience food that I'm willing to fork over for, and packed with protein and omega-3s!)
1 serving Snyders of Hanover mini-pretzels (20 pretzels)
1/2 cup Del Monte Sunfresh red grapefruit (This is that expensive jarred grapefruit I mentioned earlier.)
1 Sargento reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese stick (only 60 calories and packed with protein and calcium)
1 calcium supplement with 600 mgs calcium and 400 IU vitamin D

This lunch was 430 calories and had 11 g of fiber and 28 g of protein!

Sometimes I like to sort of split dinner up and have a couple of mini-dinners, spaced apart, so that I don't get too hungry in the late afternoon and evening.

First Mini-Dinner:
6 slices Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh shaved chicken breast (high in lean protein for satiety; unfortunately somewhat high in sodium, but it's a convenient, yummy way to get some protein, so I overlook the sodium in this case)
1/3 cup Coco Wheats hot cereal with 1/2 cup skim milk (the cereal is high in protein and iron, and has no sugar or sodium!)
1 fish oil capsule, 1 calcium supplement, and 1 vitamin D supplement

This mini-dinner had 285 calories, 1 g of fiber and 19 g of protein.

So far, I'm up to 1285 calories, 28.5 g of fiber, and 70.5 g of protein. I've basically hit my fiber and protein goals for the day, and I have about 300 calories left, so I shouldn't be going to bed hungry tonight - whoo hoo!

I'll wrap this up later after I've eaten the last of my calories for the day...

Here's my final info:

Second Mini-Dinner:
1 cup Cheerios with 1/2 cup skim milk and a small banana
2 Dove Promises dark chocolate squares (Dark chocolate, in moderation, is actually good for you!)

This mini-dinner had 320 calories, 6.5 g of fiber, and 8 g of protein.

So, drum-roll are my final totals for the day.........:
Calories: 1605
Fiber: 35 g
Protein: 78.5 g

Whoo hoo!!!! I didn't end up working out today, which tarnishes my record a bit in my eyes, but I'm still pumped about my success at meeting my food goals. And I'm going to Pilates class tomorrow morning, which will redeem me a bit. :)

So, there you have it - a day in the life of my stomach. Hope it wasn't too boring!