Kids And Food

After I started posting pictures of what I’ve been eating, I had a lot of requests to write about whether or not my kids eat the same things I do and how I have time to cook meals and how it all works, so here is my sure to be long winded explanation of that.

First let me walk you through the day.

Erik wakes up at about the time the kids wake up (6:25 ish) and he gives them breakfast.  This is usually oatmeal or yogurt or toaster waffles or fruit.  Eli used to eat all kinds of weird stuff for breakfast (frozen hot dogs) but now it’s pretty much this. Neither one of them eats a great breakfast and I throw out a lot of half empty yogurt containers, but what can you do.

Eli takes a packed lunch to school because he refuses to eat the hot lunch.  Usually I pack him half a sandwich, a fruit of some kind, some cookies, maybe some craisins or some olives, maybe a vegetable. He sometimes eat a lot of lunch, sometimes barely anything, but he does seem to like the sandwiches. (They can’t take anything with peanut butter in it to school.)

I come home from dropping Eli off at school at about 9. If I’m starving sometimes I’ll eat breakfast right away, but generally I do not care to eat anything until I have been awake for a few hours, so usually I don’t cook myself breakfast until around 11 AM.  Usually I’ll make three eggs and Katie will eat most of one.

After I get Eli at 1, we come home and I try to get Katie to eat something else, and I ask Eli if he wants anything else to eat, sometimes he eats, sometimes he doesn’t. He almost always asks for food sometime before dinner though, and both my kids seem to get hungry at about 4, so they usually end up eating a pre dinner around then.

I try to start dinner before Erik gets home (and try to have an idea of what I’m making in the morning so I can defrost things) but sometimes I don’t get around to it before he gets home.  Usually I’m in the middle of cooking when he walks in the door.

We all eat all together every night at the dining room table.  If it’s something I KNOW they won’t eat any part of, I will try to get something else ready, but usually I just alter it slightly and put it on their plate.  For example if we’re having steak salad, I’ll just save out the steak and cut it up for them.  Eli is also unusual in that he’ll eat only vegetables or fruit if given the choice, so usually I will give him the protein first and tell him he can’t have lettuce/peppers/mango until he eats the protein.

Usually if I feel like he ate a terrible dinner I’ll try to get him to eat an ice cream bar for dessert because I will do whatever to takes to get calories into the child, and he is fairly amenable to ice cream bars.

In general, though, here’s some of my food/eating philosophies:

1. Milk is for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Both my kids would do nothing but drink milk all day, given the choice.  Eli can’t have milk except at meals or that’s all he’d drink. If he wants a drink and it’s not meal time, he gets himself water.

2. I essentially let them eat whatever they want whenever they want to eat it.  I make some exceptions because I think sugar plus Eli is a really horrible combination, but when he asks for food, he gets it. I don’t make more than three suggestions of things he’d like to eat though, after that it’s his job to come up with something he wants to eat.  And I am not an all day long short order cook, if you ask for food and it’s not a time when I am in food fetching mode, then you can get it yourself. We have a step stool in our kitchen and a snack basket and lots of things that are readily available.

I really feel strongly about this “whatever” approach to food.  When I was growing up, we ate at McDonald’s twice. Yep, twice in my entire childhood. We never had treats or junk food or sugar and this approach backfired wildly as soon as I could control what I ate.  I never learned how to be normal around junk food.  Erik grew up in a house where no one really gave a shit what you ate or when you ate it, and he has the most normal and non screwed up attitude towards food of anyone I’ve known, so we veer hard toward the “chill out” philosophy of food around here.  We always have fruit and vegetables and healthy stuff around, but we go to McDonald’s.  If you want some chocolate chips I will give them to you.  And most importantly, in our house, food is morally neutral.  You may gain or lose weight because of something you eat, it might make you thirsty or it might make you feel gross or feel great, but what you eat does not make you a good or bad person.

3. One person cooks dinner, the other person does the dishes. And there’s give and take in this, but in no universe am I going to cook and clean up from an entire home cooked dinner that I cooked every night.

4. You’re not allowed to say that you don’t like something that I cooked. You don’t have to eat it, but I don’t want to hear your opinion about it unless they are positive.

5. We food bribe ALL THE TIME.  All the books tell you not to do this, but the reality is that Eli can’t tell when he’s hungry, he doesn’t ask for food when he should, and when he gets too hungry, all  hopes of getting him to eat are lost.  So at dinner he can’t leave the table until he eats a certain amount of protein, and if he starts to get hangry, we make him a plate of food, shut him in his room, and tell him he can’t come out until it’s eaten.  I have this same problem and hopefully he figures out “If I’m crabby I need to eat” shortly before his 36th birthday, but for now, this is what we have to do sometimes.

6. Speaking of books, the books have never helped us.  I checked out ALL the books on how to get kids to eat and they just don’t apply to my kids.  I always hear “no child has ever starved with access to food” and first of all, I really really hate statements that start with “no child has ever…” because really? In a world of BILLIONS OF CHILDREN you’re willing to say NO CHILD EVER? I just don’t believe that. Secondly, I think Eli really would starve to death while he sobbed in the corner next to a pizza, so…I don’t worry too much about what the books say.

7. You’re expected to ask to leave the table by saying “May I be excused” and to clear your own place once you are excused, and then if your parents are still eating, you may not lurk around the dining room. We all eat dinner together every night but it has been an exercise in patience for the past five years, so sometimes we do let them leave the dining table early because we just can’t take it anymore.

8. I have a lot of things that can be really quickly made for a kid (although Eli won’t eat most of them because of course not) like chicken nuggets, etc, but I never worry about whether or not my kids will eat a dinner.  I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate picky eaters and I refuse to raise them. And again, they don’t have to eat it, but I cook what I want to eat, and everyone else can fall in line or eat a bean burrito.

Let me know if you have questions.  I will try to note what my kids ate below what we had for dinner if I can remember.

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Braised Chicken and Vegetables in Peanut Sauce

One of my go to all time favorite recipes. Everyone loves this. I usually just use regular chicken breast and serve it over this brown rice/quinoa mixture you can buy frozen at Costco because I hate cooking rice.  Kids at the chicken and the rice.

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Thai Beef Salad Wraps. No recipe because in my opinion it was similar but not as good to that regular old Thai Beef Salad with mint. Kids ate the steak sans sauce, and lettuce.

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This was breakfast one morning – TJ’s frozen green beans, sauteed with garlic, and then some random mushroom from the Farmer’s Market sauteed till crispy and two fried eggs. YUM.

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I have renewed my love for roasted broccoli.  This breakfast was broccoli, eggs, and smoked salmon.

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Books I Read In January

WHERE ARE ALL THE GOOD BOOKS HIDING? Sigh

1. Life After Death I went into this book in possession of an absolutely unshakable belief in the innocence of the West Memphis Three.  This is a known thing, right? After reading it, I have my serious doubts.  I mean, greater legal minds than my own have clearly studied this and feel certain about the outcome, but at the very least this dude is guilty of being a serious, serious douchebag.

2. Last Night At the Lobster. I liked this (and I very much enjoyed the look at the back of the house of a Red Lobster) but it was not, in my opinion, anywhere close to my favorite, “Emily, Alone”.

3. Starting from Here.  I mean, this was fine. It was unexceptional, mostly because I think all this Tier B YAF is so issue centered and I have read so much of it that I no longer can rouse myself to care that your mother/father/brother/sister/dog has died/left you/been hit by a car/is a hoarder/won’t come out of the bedroom.

4. Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See.   So the main character decides to leave his family for reasons of that boring “It’s better for them live without me even though everyone knows it’s obviously not” ilk and then he moons about how terrible and awful it is to leave his young daughter for the first third of the book. Here’s a solution to that problem, dumbass: DON’T LEAVE YOUR CHILD.

5. Lunch Bucket Paradise.  So here’s this thing about me. I dream, at all times, this impossible dream. It is my GREATEST desire to travel back to 1955 and to go to the grocery store to see what the food liked like. This is my life wish. Like a Disneyland, but for 1955.  I want to see an Automat and put a quarter in a slot and get a piece of cake. I want to sit in a breakfast nook and open the cupboard and see the cake mix.  I want to taste the celery flavored jello. This is the only reason I watch Mad Men and why I google image search for “1955 Grocery Stores”. I could not be more interested in this and this is the reason I checked this book out, because I really wanted to read a paean to 1955 cake mix, but this was sorely lacking in that realm.  Seriously. My kingdom for a tv dinner in one of those foil trays.

6. The Sugarless Plum. It turns out I just do not care about dancers who are diabetic and keep getting sick and feeling awful but won’t return urgent messages from their doctors.

7. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.  You know how sometimes you read these books that are very well written and you know you should like them and you do admire them but despite all that you just still are not interested in them? That was this book for me.

8. Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures.  I had to wait so long for this book on hold at the library! I had this wait correlated with a large amount of excellence in my mind.  However, this book was super boring, so the correlation appears to be off.

9. The Winter of Frankie Machine.  This was more violent than I’d really like and I could do without all the sexual assault,  but I continue to be highly enamored wiith Don Winslow.

10.Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.  This was exactly what I thought it would be, but I still liked it.  I loved reading about Jenny meeting and marrying Victor since she doesn’t talk much about that on her blog.  It was a super quick funny read.

11. Tattoos on the Heart, The Power of Boundless Compassion.  Despite feeling the entire time I was reading it that this book was too self helpy and I should know better, I couldn’t help myself, I just liked this guy and I liked his book.  And listen to this line, which I think is pretty much the most amazing thing and how I would like to live the rest of my life and wraps up most of my life/political/spiritual philosophy perfectly: “Here is what we seek:  a compassion that can stand in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than stand in judgment at how they carry it.”

Yes. Just yes.

I’m Cleaning Out My Attic

I finally girded up my loins and dug all the kids clothes out of the attic. Getting rid of the clothes is the last and hardest step for me to take on the “we’re really only have these two” path, but I keep telling myself that if something changes and I do have another one, I will just buy more clothes, and also, it’s only going to really suck while I am going through them, and after that I’ll never think about it again.  I get desperately sad while holding a tiny red fleece vest, but if I’m not holding it, I never think of it. So out the door they go.

I was going to sell them as lots on Ebay, but I’d MUCH rather sell them to you guys, because oy, is Ebay a hassle, plus this way I can see that red fleece vest on YOUR children, which somehow makes it so much better for me.

I will list pictures and prices here until something is sold, in which case I will mark it as sold. Everything will ship Priority Mail in a Large Flat Rate box for $16.

Email me at ebj123@gmail.com if you are interested. I’m doing boys clothes first. I do have up to sizes 4T but I ran out of flat rate boxes, so just a few things for now.

Boys 3-6 Months, $50 plus $16 shipping

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This is:

– A Classic Pooh Romper 6m,
– A gymboree romper 3-6M Navy
– Seersucker romper 3-6M
– Gymboree overalls and matching onesie 3-6 months Tan
– Circo sleeper 6M navy
– Hatley Sleeper 3-6 Months red with moose
– Gymboree sleeper 3-6 M puppies
– Oshkosh plaid shorts 6M
– 2 hats (one from baby gap, one of unknown provenance)
– Target Circo pants 3 months striped, matching Circo onesie striped
– Children’s place onesie, 3-6 M squirrel
– Carters pirate onesie 3M
– Gap red fleece vest 3-6M
– Gymboree frog navy frog one piece 3-6M
– Gymboree striped penguin onesie and matching hat 3-6 months

Plus one of those vintage style navy sailor suit which I found after I took the picture.

Boys 6-12 Months, $40 plus $16 shipping 

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This is:

-Little Me Plaid Romper, Size 9 months

-Baby Gap Navy and White Snap Front Romper, size 6-12 months

-Imp Originals Plaid Button Strap Romper, Size 9 months

-Ralph Lauren Striped Collared Polo Shirt, 9 months

-Osh Kosh Boat Embroidered Shorts, 6/9 months

-Brown Gymboree shorts, 6-12 months

-Gymboree Striped Cotton Sweater with an Alligator on the Front and Elbow Patches, 6-12 months

-Gymboree Plaid Overalls, 6-12 months

-Hanna Andersson Navy and Green striped zipper one piece, Size 60

-Moonbeans Frog Bottom Striped Navy and White Snap Front Romper

-Old Navy 6-12 months swim trunks

-Angel Dear Blue Knit Cotton Sleeper/One Piece, 6-12 Months

 

Boys 12-18 Months, $50 plus $16 shipping

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This is:

-Michigan Onesie (That’s the back) unless you’re an Ohio State Fan, in which case I will…burn it for you?

-Zutano Striped One Piece, 12-18 months

-Yellow Argyle Sweater Vest, 12-18 months

-Red Old Navy Tee, 12-18 months

-Old Navy Striped Onesie, 12-18 months

-Gap seersucker pants, 12-18 months

-Old Navy striped snap one piece with a monkey embroidered on it, 12-18 months

-Carter’s Dino Fleece Footie PJ’s, 12 months

-Gymboree Madras Plaid Shorts, 12-18 months

-Gap Madras Plaid Shorts, 12-18  months

-Old Navy Fleece Footie Pajamas, 12-18 months

-H&M red and navy striped long sleeved tee, 12-18 months

-Baby Gap white, orange, and navy onesie, 12-18 months

-Old Navy navy and white striped LS tee, 12-18 months

-Osh Kosh Genuine Kids striped polo shirt, 12 M

-Old Navy Cargo Pants, 12-18 months

-Little Me Plaid Collared Romper, 12-18 months

-Osh Kosh Black Corduroy Overalls with red lining so you can cuff the pants, and snaps in the legs. 12 months

Any questions let me know! Thank you.

 

So You Know You’re Not Alone

Otherwise known as: A Brief (But Actually Super Long ) History of My Mental Instability.

Looking back, I think I have always been…on the edge. I don’t carry a great deal of light inside myself. Does that make sense? Most of the time, I am ok, and things don’t turn dark on their own, but I am always closer to that edge than one would like. I don’t have a wide berth.  In my brain.  We’re talking about my brain here.  That other berth is a little wide, yes.

When Eli was born, almost six years ago, it was an explosion in the middle of my nice, neat, well ordered life. The life where I ran 35 miles a week and weighed 125 pounds and cleaned my house every Sunday and polished my spare change.  It was a good explosion, it was an explosion I would sign up for over and over and over again and never reconsider, but it took me a long time to get my bearings, especially because he was so small at birth (5 pounds) and so hard to nurse and so high spirited right from the beginning.

When we moved to Sacramento and took Eli for his 18 month Well Baby Check Up, I was nervous, because he’d been gaining less and less weight and moving down the charts and doctors visits had started to be really really stressful and unpleasant.  We had all the medical records transferred and his new pediatrician took a look and things went from unpleasant to “Woah There Nelly” because from 15 months to 18 months, Eli had lost three pounds, despite our near and constant efforts to count his calories and feed him donuts and to make him eat.

I truly do believe that in that moment, something in me broke.  It was no one one’s fault, but it was just too much for me.  Stress about my child’s health, cystic fibrosis tests, holding him down while people drew blood over and over again, being at home with him all day long writing down every bite he took, no one to talk to, all the well meaning advice about picky eaters and joining mom’s groups, it just crumpled me.

This blog saved me though. My readers saved me.  My husband held me while I cried but he didn’t know what do either and when I made that cry for help, I got help. And I made the phone call that I so did not want to make because it just hurt too much to be me, and because it’s one thing when the tears are something you do on your own in the dark but it’s another thing when they are falling on your toddler’s tiny head.

So I found a doctor, and the first thing she did was to tell me I was bi-polar and prescribe Seroquel, which was awful for me, and which made me even more depressed as I imagined a horrifying spiral of crushing side effects and a life not worth living because of my crazy screwed up angry sad on the edge brain.  But I only took that for three days.  When my doctor heard my symptoms she took me off of it immediately, we talked some more, and she took back the Bi-Polar diagnosis, and gave me some samples of Lexapro.

The Lexapro worked right away. I could sleep again, I stopped crying, I felt like things were not at Desperate Levels of Sadness.  I no longer wanted to throw plates.  After I took all the samples, though, my insurance wouldn’t pay for Lexapro, because there’s no generic, unless I proved I couldn’t just use Zoloft or Celexa, because they both have generics available. So I had to take both of those for six weeks each, to prove that they didn’t work as well (they didn’t), and then my doctor called and my insurance agreed to pay for the Lexapro.

I took Lexapro until I was pregnant with Katie.  I wasn’t thrilled to be on an anti depressant while I was pregnant, but I didn’t think it was the end of the world.  It didn’t really matter, though, because as soon as I was 8 weeks pregnant, 15 minutes after I’d take the Lexapro, I’d throw up ALL. NIGHT.LONG. I had to go to the emergency room twice for IV fluids, both times after taking my medication. So no more Lexapro for me.

Luckily, while I was pregnant, I felt great.  And I felt great for months afterwards, I really love the infant stage.  But something about my hormones or babies turning into toddlers or SOMETHING hit me and it happened again, and I found myself standing in the kitchen crying over nothing, while depression seeped into my bones, heavy and liquid and turning everything to mud.

So I went back to the doctor, we tried Lexapro again, it was fine, but I noticed that I got sick really really easily.  Every time I went to Vermont to see my parents, I’d get car sick to the point that I’d have to pull over and do deep breathing exercises, and I just couldn’t see living the rest of my life about to ralph in the car. So no more Lexapro.

This is when my doctor put me on Paxil, and yes, I am using all these brand names in this blog post because I want people to be able to find the hell out of this blog post and because I want people to know they are not alone.  Paxil Paxil Paxil. (Do not take Paxil.)

So I took Paxil for about two years, and I really liked it.  (Do not take Paxil.) It definitely gave me some emotional remove, but you know, my whole life, I have been feeling all the feelings all the time, and it was nice to just not give a shit sometimes.  It was really really nice. I felt like things had just been dialed down a notch and it was an amazing relief not to have every emotion cranked up to 11 at every minute of the day.

But then I started to get sick.

At first I thought it was because I couldn’t drink and take Paxil, so I stopped drinking.  Then I thought I was allergic to dairy, so I switched to almond milk and coconut milk ice cream.  Then I thought it sugar, or exhaustion, or god knows what I thought. I took about ten thousand pregnancy tests, but I was not pregnant. And nine times out of ten, 8 o’clock would roll around and I’d start to feel like hot garbage and have to go lie down.

I didn’t even realize what was happening. I was like a frog being boiled alive, or else just simply the least self aware person on the planet, because it NEVER occurred to me that this was Paxil related, all the while thinking “Oh, how nice for her. I guess others can do such things” whenever I’d hear someone’s social plans that involved doing something after 7 o’clock at night. I started making excuses not to go to to parties, or out to dinner.  And it just never occurred to me that this was the Paxil.

Fast forward to this October.  I woke up with a HORRIBLE pulled muscle in my neck, and after heating it and icing it all day, it was so bad I could barely move.  I went to Urgent Care and then my regular doctor because I was afraid I had meningitis after I was up all night going to the bathroom, but everyone thought I just had a pulled muscle and some kind of bug, and I went home with some muscle relaxers.  And then I started to Google.

It turns out when you enter “strained muscles + nausea + diarrhea”  into Google, one of the first responses you get is “This sounds like classic drug withdrawal to me.” And lo,  the lightbulb finally went off! I realized I hadn’t taken my Paxil for three days, and it was causing all hell to break loose.

I took my Paxil dose as soon as I figured it out, but things just kept getting worse.  I would start to feel sick at about 1 PM, I’d hold on as long as I could, and then I’d take a Paxil as close to 5 PM as I could wait, because I didn’t want to increase my dosage and I didn’t want to double dose and I didn’t know what else to do. It would help a little bit, and then I’d take some dramamine and some Unisom and I’d dry heave until I could fall asleep.  The hour before my husband got home and I could go shut myself in the room and rock back and forth over a bowl became the longest  hour anyone has ever known. (It was so horrible. Just so horrible. Do not take Paxil.)

You will also imagine that this did wonders for my marriage.

The day before Halloween, things got even worse. I was sick all day long, while taking care of two kids and trying to live my life. I couldn’t stop pooping.  I have literally never been so sick in my entire life.  I called my doctor, which I should have done four days earlier.  She didn’t call me back.

We have a party every Halloween.  I drove Eli to preschool and prayed I wouldn’t throw up in the parking lot. I drove to Rite Aid and bought beer and prayed I wouldn’t throw up in Rite Aid.  I lamaze breathed my way through Papa Murphys and threw five pizzas in my car and I went home and crawled in bed while my children watched all manner of unsuitable television.  Erik came home and I told myself that this was ridiculous and I just needed to GET MY SHIT TOGETHER and I spent five minutes upright before I crawled back in bed.  I missed one of the five or six Halloweens that there will be when my kids put on Halloween costumes and walk up and down this street.  It’s short and it’s fleeting and it’s one of my favorite memories of my childhood, and I missed it while I dry heaved in bed.

Halloween night was the worst it ever was. I paged my doctor twice, and she never called me back.  I would drink as much Emetrol as I  could get down without gagging, sleep for 15 minutes, and then wake up and writhe with nausea all over again. At 9 o’clock, trick or treaters rang the door, the dog barked, and I never went back to sleep.  I was up until 8 AM the next day, when I had to take Eli to school.

The Blathering was in seven days.

The next morning I called my doctor again, and left the message that if she didn’t call me back, I was going to the emergency room. I hadn’t eaten in 36 hours, I still hadn’t stopped pooping, and things were…not good.  I also finally made the decision to quit taking the Paxil, cold turkey, because I didn’t know what else to do.  It wasn’t helping at all to keep taking it, I’d been taking it the whole time and I was getting sicker and sicker.

Finally, finally, my doctor called back. She was shocked that I was having this reaction, shocked that I was so sick, shocked at my weight loss (11 pounds). Shocked shocked shocked. My case was “so unusual that she discussed it with all her colleagues.” (My case is not unusual. A metric buttload of people have sued or are suing this drug manufacturer. Do not take Paxil.) She wanted to know if I wanted to keep taking the Paxil (ha ha ha fuck no I did not) and told me to taper off it, which I agreed to do, and then did not do.  Because as God is my witness I’ll never put that drug in my body ever again. NEVER EVER AGAIN.

So then my mother in law showed up, and I could write ten thousand blog posts about how much I owe her,  how much gratitude I have, how amazing she was, how she SAVED me, and it would never be enough.  She did my laundry, she played with my kids, she cooked breakfast lunch and dinner, she went to the grocery store, she did EVERYTHING while I laid in bed and moaned and drank ice water and tried to flush the Paxil from my system as fast as I could.

I was very hopeful that things were going to get rapidly better as soon as I quit the Paxil, but they did not.  I had seven days to get well enough so that I could get on a plane and then get in a car and get to the Blathering, and I had worked my ass off for a year for this event and I look forward to it more than anything else all year long and I really didn’t think I was going to make it. Maggie and Jennie were trying to figure out how they’d decorate without me (beautifully, I am sure) and Arwen was praying and still, I was very unsure I was actually going to be able to get on that plane. Everything I read online listed two weeks as the recovery time for this event, and I wasn’t getting better very fast and I had to spend six hours in the emergency room one night with Eli while he had the croup (because of course) and it was just terrible.

So my symptoms, let’s see. I had: teeth grinding, confusion, inability to concentrate, nausea, loss of appetite, constant violent diarrhea,  terrible vertigo (it felt like someone was pushing me backwards), muscle and neck pain, exhaustion, and probably some other things I am forgetting. And every morning I’d wake up to 20 minutes of sheer terrifying heart pounding roller coaster anxiety. Every single morning. I was afraid to go to sleep at night because of how much I dreaded those first 20 minutes.

I finally started to feel a little better the morning I had to pack for the Blathering, the day before my flight.  My MIL was still here, so even though it took me all day to pack because I couldn’t focus on anything, she watched my kids and drove Eli to school and cooked for everyone.  Erik told me that I needed to use every force available to me to go, and I had a bag full of Zofran and Dramamine and Ginger Gum and if a bag of drugs doesn’t say “Girls Weekend” I don’t know what does.

So I went.  I had to say ten thousand Hail Marys in the check baggage line while sweat poured down me and I tried desperately not to poop in my pants. I didn’t eat dinner the entire time. I had to go to bed early every night instead of going out drinking or sitting up with my girls listening to them talk about their lives, but it was worth it to me.  These are the women who prayed for me, who scootch closer to me while I cry, who pull over six times in a half an hour without saying anything so I can run into Wendy’s and have diarrhea.  They mean the world to me. I needed to see them, I needed their hugs.

The bad news is that it took me at least six weeks before I started to feel better. It was not the intense badness of the first week, but it was bad.  I ended up losing 26 pounds, most of it because I just couldn’t eat anything and food disgusted me.  My family ate a lot of Pasta Roni.  A LOT.

The other bad news is that although this ASTONISHES everyone and “it just can’t be true” and I am a MEDICAL MYSTERY (except not really because you can find it on Google in two minutes), Paxil withdrawal is known to have a “wave like nature” and it can come and go for up to a year.  I had nausea and had to lie down before dinner five nights last week.  So that sucks actual immeasurable amounts, to still be dealing with this now when it started in August. (Do not take Paxil.)

The other bad news is that I have a raging case of PTSD.  If I so much hear about someone throwing up in my Twitter stream, I have to grab the hand sanitizer. I was just sick for three months, I seriously cannot emphasize how much that screws with your head. Or at least it screws with mine.  And I know we’ll get sick again and I still have my Zofran stash, but man, I am freaked out every single time one of my kids so much as coughs.  “Are you going to barf?” will be carved on my tombstone.

The other bad news is that I am flying blind, so far, because I don’t think I want to go back to my doctor, and although I am not currently depressed and I am not anxious any more than normal, I am also not medicated on anything more than fish oil and some strange vitamins, and I have been forced to realize that my sanity isn’t the trusty workhouse I always pictured it as, but instead a delicate shell-like thing that I have to protect at all costs.  It’s not a sturdy farm girl, it’s a pasty, sickly wastrel, and I have to remember to treat it as such.

There is good news, though, I promise.  There is some good news.

Because the thing is, that I struggle. I really really struggle. I struggle with so much. I struggle to be a good parent.  We are raising, if not a difficult child, one is who is certainly in a difficult phase.  We live in a tiny crowded house. I am often consumed with real estate envy.  Our weekends feel like battles, like we live in a war zone.  Everything is a fight, and there’s only so many instagrams you can see with everyone else’s fun weekends with the kiddos and magical days at the beach and kitchen islands and I don’t know, there are so many beautiful lives on the internet. And so you can’t help but wonder what you are doing wrong, and why your weekends feel like wars and if you should move and how to get a kitchen island just like that one.

But the thing is this.  The whole time I was struggling and sick and dry heaving, the whole time I was lying in bed just waiting to sleep, just waiting for the misery to end, the whole anxious sick awful frustrating horrible horrendous time, I had one thought. Just one. Over and over. And this thought was: “I just want to be able to lie on the couch with my husband and watch Homeland.  I just want my simple, wonderful, perfect life  back. I want nothing more than that.”

And it is. It is a simple, boring, wonderful, frustrating, war filled life. It’s not instagram worthy.  I don’t have a kitchen island.  We never go to the beach.  But when I was desperate, and truly wishing for just that one thing back? I didn’t think once about kitchen islands. I just thought about sitting on the couch, next to my husband, happy, watching Homeland, and the good news is that that small frustrating perfect simple unbeautiful life I wanted so badly? I have that. I have just that, and it’s just what I wanted, more than anything else.

What I Wore This Week: Scarves, Scarves, and More Scarves!

 

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{Nordstrom Infinity Scarf, Banana Republic Sweater, AE High Rise Super Skinny Jeans, Ugg Brooks Boots}

I wore this to brunch. Delicious food plus my amazing ladies (minus one sickie) plus my favorite boots. Happiness.

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{Lands End dress, Ebay Scarf, Loft Leggings, Ugg Boots}

This dress pills so I am not linking to it! I have recommended it to LOTS of people and it pills! Super uncool, Lands End. I did go over the whole thing with a sweater shaver, and I’m hoping that it was some kind of top layer that isn’t going to come back every time I wear the damn thing, but I am glad I didn’t buy more of this stupid dress. I’d return it, but I love it, so you know. Also, I think after looking at this picture that it needs to be worn with a taller heel. I look stumpy.

Also, I want this scarf to be a teeny bit longer, but I can’t figure out how I’d do it. Sew in an extra section? I’m worried that I’ll ruin it.

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{Banana Republic Sweater, Ebay Infinity Scarf, Gap Perfect Khaki Pants, Jack Purcells}

This orange pants situation was Paxil Withdrawal Day 9,000. I woke up in the morning and immediately wanted to go back to bed. This is not the best looking thing I wore all week (seriously, all the pictures were AWFUL) but it was the closest thing I could figure out to pajamas. I needed a pajama day.

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{Old Navy Coat, Ebay Scarf, AE High Rise Super Skinny Jeans, Ugg Brooks Boots}

 

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{Target cardigan, Ebay Scarf, AE High Rise Super Skinny Jeans, Ugg Brooks Boots}

I was so excited that this sweater fit and looked good! And was comfy! It was on the “maybe get rid of pile” and this salvaged it. I love it when that happens.

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{Gap Coat, Target scarf, Banana Republic dress, Old Navy Leggings, Frye Campus Boots}

Apparently I do own a navy scarf. Huh! Also, I’ve always thought these boots were great, but SO COLD to wear in the winter. And then I wore socks with them. Uh, yeah. They’re not cold when you wear socks.  Amazing, these brain surges I have.

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{Target Mossimo Shawl Collar Sweater, Banana Republic dress}

Oh, so cute! And comfy and flattering! And a summer dress turned into a winter dress! (GOLD STAR!)

Tied for favorite outfit of the week.

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{Gap Outlet Sweater, Gap Tee, Garnet Hill Flamenco Skirt, Old Navy Leggings, Dr. Martens Diza Ankle Biker Boots}

A very lovely person with an Important Shoe Job sent me these boots, (Katie and I are BOTH very impressed with them, as you can see) and oh my god they are my new faaaaaaaaaaaavorite thing! I never knew that these boots were missing from my closet, but they so were.  They are comfy and they make my legs look skinny, they are so easy to take on and off, they look great, they feel great, they have the perfect heel, they make me look a teeny bit tough, and I JUST LOVE THEM. Mr. E said “Rarely am I jealous of women’s shoes (good to know), but I am jealous of those.” I seriously kind of want to put these under my pillow and sleep with them. LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE.

Also, this skirt! BFF Sara found this and I thought it had HIGH potential. Since I have trouble with more structured skirts looking too dressy, and since I can’t find a plaid skirt and I can’t find a corduroy skirt, I thought this might be a good solution to those issues. Plus it’s so kicky! Plus you can wear it in the summer with a white t shirt and in the winter with boots and a black sweater. Yup, it’s great.

So that makes this my other favorite outfit of the week.

(Yes, I said kicky. I know, I know.)

 

What I Ate This Week

 

 

 

 

 

 

These were chicken tostadas without the tostada. AMAZING. I marinated some chicken breasts in olive oil, red pepper, and lime juice, and then pan fried them and cut them up. We ate them with mangos, guac, tomatoes, yellow peppers, salsa, and lettuce, I think.

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The next morning I took the left over mango/tomato chicken mixture, dumped it over some spinach, threw an egg on the top, and added some guac. It was the bomb. Recommend.

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I had the WORST craving for pineapple ham pizza, so this was how I got that flavor anyway.  These are bison burgers, topped with bacon, pineapple, red onion, and then eaten in lettuce instead of a bun. I also added ketchup, and no one died, believe it or not.  Oh, there’s golden beet salad there on the side, but it was just sort of meh for me, so I wouldn’t recommend that.

 

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This is spinach, the leftover beet salad, an egg, and some smoked salmon. (Breakfast)

 

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I needed to use up some sprouts, so I made this carroty/sunflower salad, but I just ended up picking out all the apples and the chicken so I probably should have just eaten some slices of chicken and an apple.

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I know it’s not for everyone, but I LOVE spaghetti squash, especially with meatballs.  I made these with ground up cashews instead of bread crumbs, and with ground turkey. I threw ALL the spices in there and they were still bland, I think next time I’d add even more garlic and maybe some mustard.

I bought these artichokes at the farmer’s market and they were delicious.  I always cook my artichokes this way, btw.  Trim the bottoms, trim the tops, cut in half, steam in the microwave in a covered bowl with some water in it for 10 minutes. Remove from the bowl, drizzle with olive oil and some kind of herb mixture (you can use Mrs. Dash or Trader Joes sells a good generic herb mix), salt and pepper, and grill until you get a nice golden brown crust on them.  They are SO GOOD cold, too, I always make a lot and save them.

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$100 A Month

Mr. E and I have some large financial goals we’re working towards, and also, you know, it’s not really January unless you reel back in horror from your credit card bill and make a new budget, so we’ve got that covered.  Anyway. I spent the last year desperately trying to resuscitate my closet and build a “uniform”, and now it’s pretty much done. I’m on the worlds longest slowest diet, but it’s literally ten pounds a year of weight loss or something, if that, so I am not replacing clothing at a rapid rate.  And I cannot say that I don’t have anything to wear, anymore. Now it’s pretty much just for fun, or things like “If I had red tights I could wear them with my red shoes!”.  So for the next year, I am going to be sticking to a $100 a month clothing budget, with the exception of gifts or any money I make selling my old clothes on Ebay.

Since I don’t NEED anything, really, anymore, I am going to try really hard to stick to my principles, even on a limited budget, and to not buy things that don’t work with the uniform, to not buy knitwear at Old Navy (because they get pilly so fast that they’re disposable) and not to buy things at Target unless I LOVE them and they look GREAT. My wardrobe isn’t in dire straights anymore. “Dire Straights Shopping at Target While Desperate” serves a need, sure, but it’s not necessary for me at this point. So I am going to try to stick with quality over quantity.  And $100 is MORE than enough to get that done, I think. At the end of every month I’ll break down what money went where, but for now, just for fun, here’s some things I’m looking for next year and hoping I can find:

A yellow skirt. I have been looking for a mustard yellow skirt for SO long, and I can never find one anywhere.  I’ve got my eyes peeled, but if you find one somewhere, let me know!



White cropped skinnies. Katie has a pair of white skinny corduroy jeans (with zippers) and they are my favorite. I’m sure that there’s a chance any combination of white+skinny could be wildly unflattering, but I feel like they could be seriously great. Think of all the things I could wear white skinny jeans with! I’m picturing a navy t shirt, a madras headband, big green earrings, big tortoiseshell sunglasses, and some flip flops. LOVE.

A blue short sleeved knit dress. I want to recreate this exact outfit (below). Last year I bought the Target Mossimo Kimono dress thing that they sell every summer and I had to throw it out almost as soon as I bought it when it got pilly. Boo.



This dress could work. It is expensive for knitwear, but I am hoping that means it’s better quality.

 

A navy scarf. I cannot believe I own all this navy and I have no navy scarf.  I’m kind of wondering if I should investigate the fabric store and making my own, though. Navy might be a good place to start.

 

A red statement necklace.  I don’t know, this is cheap and I feel like I’d wear it a lot.

Some new wedges. I wore the crap out of my J. Crew wedges last year, I need one other pair so I can mix it up a bit.

Source: toms.com via Elizabeth on Pinterest

 

Something green and floral. I don’t know if this is going to be a stretched out disaster in the boobage area, but I feel like every preppy uniform needs at least one shot of kelly green.

Source: gap.com via Elizabeth on Pinterest

 

A fun sundress. I feel like this is one thing that is missing from my dress collection. I used to buy a ton of these from Old Navy every summer, but they never fit right and I ended up getting rid of them all. In other news, I am pretty sure I owned this exact dress my junior year of high school.

Source: gap.com via Elizabeth on Pinterest

 

A black and white striped skirt. I have wanted one of these for ages. Not sure how practical it would be, but something about the black and white stripes makes my heart beat faster.

 

A red corduroy skirt. I have been looking for this for so long! I really like this Anthro one, but it’s only available on Ebay now, so I have to think about it. Or hope that it gets cheaper, I have a hard time with high priced Ebay stuff, since it’s a bigger risk.

 

Shoes to wear with my Blathering dress. I bought this dress for about $12 to wear to next year’s Blathering…now I just need to find shoes to wear with it. I can’t decide between glittery silver, because fun!, or more casual preppy espadrilles or something since we’re going with more laid back and beachy for next year’s vibe.

 

A fun t shirt. I could wear this my white skinnies! It might be a little “bike safety tape” for my taste though, I can’t quite tell.

Source: gap.com via Elizabeth on Pinterest



An A line pleated (black?) skirt. Now that I know not to cram my sweaters down over my skirts, I want to find out if poofy skirts actually could be cute on me, worn correctly. I LOVE this look, so I’ve got my eye out for a skirt like this.

 

Now I just need the Gap to sponsor me and I’ll be all set.  Until then I’ll just be over here waiting for sales.