Sunday, January 06, 2008

A dose of perspective

I've been trying to face my food responsibility issues with a little more proactive energy. I'm hoping to find ways to cook most of our meals on the weekend to freeze ahead for the week. I don't expect to do the marathon "Once a month" cooking frenzies that are described in many places on the net, but if I could get even 3 or 4 meals cooked ahead, that would ease some of the daily burden of cooking.

So this afternoon I'm sitting here planning my cooking, feeling a bit overwhelmed at just figuring out what we need. Then I go check my email, and read a message from my pastor that one of the leaders of our church died this afternoon. I don't understand quite what happened - something about a blood clot or intestinal blockage or something - he was only in his 30's and was a beloved member of our church family.

Please pray for his wife Amy and his parents and family, and for our church. There is much sadness and grief.

All of a sudden, having to plan our meals doesn't seem like such a big deal.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Today's thought - Self Care is Hard

Wow, I was feeling overwhelmed and slightly flippant when I wrote that last post, and never went back to write my imagined follow-on post.

Right now I am trying to understand how to balance my need, desire, and obligation to care for others in my life with my need to care for myself. Too often in the last few years I have cared for others and not for myself. I can be fairly strong and disciplined in my care for others, but allow myself to be weak and undisciplined when it comes to my own well being. The end result of this path is not good for anyone.

So yes, there are a lot of varying food requirements in my family right now, which can be a little overwhelming at times. But I'm realizing that really the central issues for me are the interior issues of choice, control and communication. Can I choose to care for myself enough to plan ahead for issues like food planning, preparation and the like, rather than squandering my time and forcing myself into a crisis reaction mode? At the same time, can I let go of my desire for everything to work out perfectly (and to realistically know where compromise is acceptable)? Will I have the guts to communicate clearly with the others in my life about what I can and can't do, and what I believe they need to care for themselves? And maybe most importantly, will I face myself with honesty, letting go of my "all or nothing" thinking that I can either care for others or myself, and really face the reality of what I am responsible for, without whining or manipulating.

So that's what I'm thinking about today, along with my typical pre-Christmas busyness. Today I am living with compromise, trying not to be perfectionistic as I finish making some Christmas gifts and try to clean my house to have some friends over tonight.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Our Family's Current Food Requirements

1 husband – no gluten, no dairy, no potatoes, no tomatoes, no broccoli/cauliflower or related veggies, no onions, garlic, or related foods (even the smell of these being chopped or cooked will cause stomach upset), no peppers or related foods, limited sugar and starches. High protein - but only chicken, turkey, some buffalo (lower fat red meat), limited tuna (gotta watch out for that mercury), a few mild white fishes, and eggs. Some fruits OK. No pork. Rice and buckwheat cereal are good, rice pasta not currently tolerated. Has “bumpers” between his teeth for new braces which do not allow his teeth to meet and can not chew his food, which means that all foods have to be mostly ground, flaked, or pureed (no salads for now, mostly pureed soups). Needs to gain weight. Everything should be organic. Special nutritional supplements taken 5 or 6 times daily (per nutritionist). Hates to shop or cook. Helps with meal preparation and dishes.

1 wife – no gluten (or very little), no dairy (or very little), no tomatoes, low (only healthy) fats, limited sugar and starches. High protein with poultry, some buffalo, most any fish (only watch out for mercury levels), and some eggs. Some fruits OK. Loves onion and garlic (see restrictions above). No pork. Rice & rice pasta are good, and salads are good (only no commercial dressing, should be made from healthy oils and lemon juice). Needs to loose weight. Everything should be organic, and specially washed before being prepared. Special nutritional supplements taken 6 times daily (per nutritionist). Fine with shopping and cooking (most of the time), only occasionally does dishes.

1 82-year-old father-in-law – would prefer mostly beef (NO buffalo, please, and new dentures not working out so well so only ground beef for now), ham, loves shrimp, tolerates chicken (learning to like it more – but none of these new-fangled chicken or turkey sausages, please), salmon is better than white fish, loves mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, tomatoes, peas and corn. Some rice OK (but far prefers potatoes, pasta & bread). Salads are good (chicken good in these). Loves to shop and loves sweets - especially pies, donuts, pastries and anything that is a really good deal at Safeway or Costco. Eyesight not so good for reading labels to avoid partially-hydrogenated fats and high-fructose corn syrup. Basically, no problems with weight. Loves to shop for groceries, but doesn't retain good understanding of family's food needs (and doesn't like the health food store) and frequently brings home foods that can't or shouldn't be eaten by most members of the household. Does almost all the dishes.

1 13-year-old daughter – would prefer very few vegetables (mostly broccoli, green beans, carrots, peas, corn, artichokes, and lettuce tolerated), no “evil” foods (as defined mostly by father – onions, garlic, bell peppers, mushrooms, raw tomatoes), potatoes and yams good. Beef (no buffalo, please), chicken, turkey, ham, white fish OK, salads are good in moderation, likes bread, pasta, rice (is OK) and some fruits, can eat dairy, loves sweets (especially almost anything grandpa brings home). No problems with weight. Needs to learn about shopping, cooking, and doing dishes.

1 9-year-old daughter – would prefer very few vegetables (see list for older sister), no “evil” foods (as defined mostly by father – onions, garlic, bell peppers, mushrooms, raw tomatoes), potatoes and yams good. Beef (no buffalo, please), chicken, turkey, ham, salmon OK, salads are good in moderation, does like pasta, does not like bread, loves rice, does not tolerate dairy well, likes some fruits (though not the same ones as older sister), loves pickles, beets, and sweets (especially almost anything grandpa brings home). Prefers to have separate foods and does not like anything “mixed up” (learning to tolerate soups on good days). No problems with weight. Needs to learn about shopping, cooking, and doing dishes.

Upcoming post - typical afternoon of food related activities for Mom.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

63rd Marathon tomorrow!

He's almost done it!!!!!

One more day!

63 days straight of running 26.2 miles. All to raise money for research for a cure for Ataxia-Telangiectasia, a rare degenerative genetic disease that affects children. Since September 3rd, Tim and his family have traveled all across the country in a motorhome, each stop and marathon-distance run planned by a family of a child with A-T.

I do not know how he did it, how they all did it. Tim's wife Michelle is a friend of our family, and I'm hoping and praying that Michelle and the kids have held up OK as well. From the itinerary it looks in the last week especially, they had to travel about 6 or 7 hours each day (with two kids age 1 and 3, in a motorhome), between daily stops on their trip. They must be so exhausted.

But the most amazing thing is how Tim has pressed through this physical challenge, all to try to help the kids who struggle everyday to overcome obstacles equally as challenging as running as a marathon. If you have a little time, check out the youtube videos of some of his daily runs and the families of A-T kids involved, at the AT Cure Tour website.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Is it really November?

I think I lost October. I know I saw it around here somewhere, but it slipped by me so fast that I'm feeling a little disoriented.

So I keep clicking on the time in the top bar on my computer, reading again the date that is revealed and trying to convince myself that it really is November. That whirlwind of costume sewing and classroom parties and candy (so much candy) that happened earlier this week did actually culminate in Halloween, the last day of October. And now - November. November is starting a little slow - even the Great Pumpkin came to our house a day late this year, lazy guy that he is.

Does the Great Pumpkin visit your house? He only started visiting our house a couple of years ago, after I learned from a friend that a simple request to the Great Pumpkin hotline could result in yearly visits from this fine rotund friend. He is quite an accommodating holiday hero, tailoring his services to each individual household's needs.

At our house, the Great Pumpkin only visits after my children have sorted through their Halloween trick-or-treating haul and saved out only as much will fit into a quart-sized ziploc bag. Then they leave the rest of their empty-calorie-laden bounty on the table when they go to bed, and during the night the Great Pumpkin takes the sweets and leaves a gift. Reasonable gifts - a single DVD or a modest iTunes gift card.

My girls have made the transition to this holiday tradition quite easily, and the significantly smaller collections of sugar bombs hanging around our house has made me a much happier mom. This year my 13-year-old did finally have a problem with the whole transaction. A direct quote of her reaction to my handing her the quart sized bag: "But I worked hard to get this huge haul of candy!" After some not so memorable snippy comments back and forth, though, she agreed to trust the Great Pumpkin, and was happy with her new iTunes buying power.

OK - actually, the Great Pumpkin wasn't even organized enough to get an iTunes card - rather he left her a twenty-dollar bill with the note that it could be used to buy a DVD of her choice or used for iTunes downloads (her younger sister got a DVD). Next year he'll probably know to plan ahead and get a gift card, if he's not to sidetracked by other Halloween issues.

Well, now it's November and I need to convince my husband that the trash can is the best place for this huge bag of candy that he hid somewhere around the house the other night. I hate to be wasteful, but so far I can't think of any better options. Any ideas?