Not Gonna Say It

Do you have any words that you just really dislike? I do. I really hate the word “gonna,” even though I say it all the time out of habit.

Why do I hate it? Well, it just seems wrong. It isn’t, after all, a proper contraction, so why do I not treat it with the same abhorrence as “ain’t?” I suppose I do see it in the same light now, but because I’ve said “gonna” instead of “going to” most of my life, it’s hard to change. I’m trying to use different words than “going to,” actually, just to avoid the habit of saying “gonna.” It’s not going so well thus far, but I only just started this.

So how about it? Any words you hate to say or hear? Ever tried to change a habit in your speaking?

Scheduling Dilemmas

Lately, I feel like we’ve been doing nothing but rush, rush, rush. We didn’t make it to Mass at all yesterday, because it was earlier, and the other mornings we’ve made it but just barely, and in a whirlwind rush to get out of the house. Leaving for violin lessons? Rushing. Leaving for soccer practice? Rushing. Being in a rush tends to put me on edge, which means I end up snapping a bit at the kids (and apologizing), and then we’re all out of sorts. Something has to change.

One issue is the time of Mass. It is very important to me that we go on a daily basis as much as possible. For one, I need those graces to be a better mother, personally. Going to 9.00 is feasible, but is also stressful lately (will there ever be a time when I get no negative comments about my kids being loud and/or breastfeeding openly? I just have to remind myself that I get more positive comments than negative, but it is still stressful). The other issue with 9.00 is that if the kids play after Mass, as they often do, then we get back and don’t have time for Kieran to practice his violin before Leo’s nap, which means it is more difficult to get both practices in that day. We could drive to St Joe’s instead, but their Mass is at 8.00 and Kieran tends to sleep later now. So do I keep on with the 9.00 and maybe try to have him practice before Mass, or what? I would still have to deal with comments, because Leo just isn’t going to allow a cover when feeding when he’s never had that before, and he is learning to be quiet but isn’t quite there yet. Honestly, 8.00 is probably a better time for him, just not for the other two.

Then soccer. Practices got changed to 18.00, which is normally when we eat dinner. I cannot seem to get dinner on the table at 17.00. I guess the solution to that is to make sure I have crock pot dishes those evenings. That means I need to be better at planning ahead, which I can do, I just need some inspiration.

Kieran asked to start playing soccer, but how would that work? As it is, he has violin twice a week, and Charlotte has soccer three times a week. I assume his schedule would be similar, with one mandatory practice, one optional skills session, and one game every week. If I already feel rushed, it seems like it would be a bad idea to add another activity. In theory, I think one instrument and one sport should work, but in practice I don’t see how. I am adamant that we have family time, at least a family meal, daily. Maybe I should just work on making sure we aren’t stressed and rushing with the existing activities, and go from there.

Seven Quick Takes

— 1 —

I think we’re finally getting answers about Kieran’s cyclic vomiting! He had an endoscopy a couple of weeks ago, and we got the results on Monday. It turns out that he has helicobacter, which surprised us. He’d been tested for h pylori months ago, and it was negative; I hadn’t known there were many strains of helicobacter. So he’s on two different antibiotics and prilosec and hopefully that does the trick. I know that might not be the answer to his cyclic vomiting, but I hope it is and that getting rid of the infection will get rid of the vomiting. I don’t want him to need to go to the ER again, like he has done many times in the past year.

— 2 —

Tomorrow is the feast of Our Lady of La Leche! Our Bishop has been promoting devotion to Her, which is great. As a breastfeeding mother, I can relate, of course. It’s also the one day a year where I feel like there will surely be no comments about me breastfeeding Leo at Mass.

— 3 —

We recently moved Leo’s bed downstairs into Kieran’s room. He’s been napping there every day this past week! He doesn’t sleep there at night, but that’s okay – he’ll do that when he’s ready.  I’m just excited that he’ll nap down there.

— 4 —

I keep reading about marijuana being no worse than alcohol, or perhaps even better, but the comparisons I see seem to be speaking about overindulging in alcohol for that part of the comparison. What I want to know is how typical marijuana use compares to, say, having a drink or two at dinner.

— 5 —

I love listening to my kids play together. You know, when they aren’t screaming at each other because one took another one’s toy or something. Generally, though, I do enjoy it. I love listening to the games they imagine and the squeals of laughter. I love how much they love each other.

— 6 —

I was recently talking to my cousin about our respective children; she has 4, and I have 3. She said that being a parent is so hard, because you have your own faults that you’re working on, and then you see those faults reflected back at you in your children.

Isn’t that so true?! The observation was made after I’d mentioned that Charlotte is like me in being rather mean when hungry. I’m just not nice when I get really hungry. I can control it quite a bit, but I’m much likelier to snap at people then than at other times. Charlotte screams when hungry. Nothing is right, nothing will please her. I finally figured out the problem, so I just feed her and then she often returns to her usual happy self.

— 7 —

I just saw where Jennifer Garner spoke about her baby bump – the permanent bump she has after having three children. I love that she spoke about that! I sometimes get asked if I am pregnant, because of said permanent bump. Nope, I just have three kids, two of whom were 8lbs 11oz.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Food for Thought

Or just food. I don’t know about you, but I’m quite busy and finding good recipes that don’t take up much time is a must for me. So I thought I’d dedicate a day to posting about recipes I’ve made and loved. I’d love to hear yours, too.

First up, crock pot risotto. I know, that probably makes a chef go into shock, but I don’t always have the time to stand over a stove, constantly stirring. When I try that is when Leo is sure to dump cat litter on Charlotte’s bed (yes, that’s happened) or Charlotte gets hurt, or whatever. So I just don’t have time for that. Now, this also isn’t a throw-in-the-crock-pot-in-the-morning-and-forget-until-dinner dish – it’s only in for about 2 hours.

I also can’t leave recipes well enough alone, but absolutely must tweak them. I started with this recipe, but have made alterations. I use the same instructions, for the most part, but have made some changes to the ingredients.

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Chardonnay, divided use (use more chicken stock if not using wine)
1 1/4 cups brown rice
3 3/4 cups chicken stock (best if homemade!)
2 tablespoons butter (or Earth Balance soy-free)
12 ounces mushrooms, sliced                                                                                                                                            fennel, parsley, oregano, pepper, garlic, to taste                                                                                                              thyme, to taste (for mushrooms)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional garnish                                                                                                          Italian sausage

In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until just soft, but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup wine (or stock) and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add rice and stir and cook until it begins to turn translucent, about 2 minutes. Scrape rice and onion mixture into slow-cooker. (Set skillet aside and do not wash.) Turn slow-cooker to high and add broth. Add herbs to taste. Cover and cook on high until tender and moist but not soupy, about 1 3/4 hours to 2 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, using the same skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil and butter together over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms release their liquid, about 4 minutes. Add thyme. Add 1/4-cup wine (or stock) and stir and cook another minute or two to allow some of the wine to evaporate. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, before placing the mushrooms in a microwave-safe bowl, cover and refrigerate. Just before rice is done, remove mushrooms from refrigerator and microwave, uncovered on high, until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Cook sausage in same skillet and refrigerate.

Uncover the risotto. Serve immediately, topped with the heated mushrooms and Parmesan, if desired. Serve with sausage (note – I put the sausage on the side only because of food intolerances; feel free to add it in earlier if you don’t have to avoid any of the ingredients in it). I also serve with crusty homemade garlic bread. Delicious! And now I’d best get my stock out of the freezer if I’m going to make this tonight.

Nutrition and Fertility

I’m learning more about how nutrition affects fertility in my personal life. Before I get into that specifically, let me give some background. My youngest, Leo, was born with gallstones and multiple severe food intolerances which may or may not be related to the gallstones. Because of that, I have had a very limited diet for almost two years now, with no dairy, soy (including soybean oil and soy lecithin), beef, pork, nightshades, eggs, and only very limited fats, like the occasional avocado or coconut oil. If I cheated, he had a gallbladder attack, so I had a great incentive not to cheat on diet.

Because Leo has never found food to be a comfort, he did not comfort nurse until more recently. I knew that fewer nursing sessions would equal an earlier return to fertility, so I started charting again around his first birthday (I use and teach the Billings Ovulation Method – feel free to ask me for more info on that).  As expected, I ovulated shortly thereafter. I also knew from experience that I shouldn’t expect the first cycle(s) to be fertile, but to anticipate a short luteal phase. This is normal, and it is what happened. The normal progression is for the luteal phase to lengthen in subsequent cycles until fertility has returned.

For the first couple of cycles, the luteal phase did lengthen, and I thought everything was on track. I had a normal luteal phase with one cycle and figured my fertility had indeed fully returned. The next cycle, though, the luteal phase had shortened to nine days, which is considered too short to be fertile as it doesn’t allow enough time for implantation. I was irritated, to say the least, but I figured it was a fluke. I was also starting to experience dizziness at times, and when I put that information on my chart, I saw that it happened at specific points in my cycle. The next few cycles continued to have a nine-day luteal phase, and the dizziness was getting worse. My breaking point came last month, when I was dizzy for the entire cycle and my luteal phase shortened to seven days.

I no longer thought this was normal, even though Leo had begun to comfort nurse and thus nursed more often. I knew my chart showed low progesterone, and I learned that the dizziness can go along with that. A while back I’d read a post by Simcha Fisher about progesterone cream, so I was all set to try that, too. When I ran that by my husband, though, he wasn’t sure about trying that yet. I was feeling desperate, but he reminded me that maybe my restricted diet was adversely affecting my fertility, and thought I should try adding some things back in to see how it went.

Rather nervously, I started taking fish oil. I started slowly, and didn’t notice any reactions in Leo, so I increased the dose. After a few days of that, I started eating eggs for breakfast again, and still didn’t notice him reacting (I wish I could say all his intolerances were gone, but when I tried soybean oil he had a very upset stomach, so I can’t relax on that one yet). So for the past month I’ve eaten eggs for breakfast daily and have taken fish oil 3x/day. In just this cycle, I have noticed a huge improvement. My dizziness isn’t completely gone, but only lasted a few days and wasn’t as severe as before. My luteal phase lengthened to 13 days! That’s nearly double what it was last month, and is considered a perfectly normal luteal phase length.

There really haven’t been other changes, as Leo has still been nursing frequently. Actually, before I started eating eggs and taking fish oil, he’d complain that the milk was “empty,” but he hasn’t been saying that as much now, so I think it’s helping with milk production, too. So if anything, he’s nursing more than he did. I’m really amazed at how much nutrition plays a role. When I started doing this, I had it in my mind that I’d try it, but if there wasn’t any improvement, I’d go get the progesterone cream. Now I’m just going to keep eating more good fats.

On Being a Brunette

Ever feel like brunettes get the short stick? I have always loved being the brunette in many ways, but in some ways it’s just not seen as favourably as being fair.

Example: absolutely everyone has hair on his face. This includes women. Blonds aren’t going have that show much, but true brunettes almost certainly will. However, this is seen as undesirable, and so brunettes are expected to do something about that, be in bleach, use chemicals to remove it, wax, laser, whatever. I remember when I was 11 and it was first pointed out to me that I had darker hair on my upper lip (you know, because I’m a brunette), and I was mortified. I told my mom so she would get me some Nair or equivalent thing, and I remember the comment that she’d never had to worry about it because she’s blond (I want to add that I do not blame my mother or anything, I’m not upset about her saying that, just showing the societal norms that we have all internalised). Until very recently, I used that cream religiously, until I finally listened to my husband saying I didn’t need to use it. I have to remind myself of his words sometimes when I look in the mirror and think it’s horrible that I *gasp* have darker hair because I’m a brunette.

Next example: leg shaving. It’s another thing where blonds can “get away” without shaving as often because it isn’t noticeable. But who decided this? Isn’t it rather silly? I haven’t stopped shaving my legs (yet), but I’m questioning the reasoning of it more.

Why am I thinking of all this more? In large part it’s because my beautiful daughter is a true brunette, darker than I am, in fact. She’s 4, but she notices everything. She notices if I shave or not and asks me about it. Soon I know she’ll notice that she has darker hair on her legs, too, and I don’t want her to feel ashamed, like I did. I want her to know she is beautiful just the way she is, without having to change anything based on the societal standards that seem to have been created with blonds in mind. (Nothing against blonds, by the way, just let’s acknowledge that we’re different and beautiful in our own ways, ok?) I want Charlotte to have confidence in her beauty from the beginning, and I feel the best way for that to happen is for me to be confident in myself and lift her up, too. So I’m working on that being confident in my own appearance thing.