Saturday, December 30, 2006

Gluten: the bane of my existence

If you didn't already know, my little Hannah has a gluten intolerance. Lost of people ask me if that means Celiac Disease. The answer is, I don't know. She's never been tested. The only reason I know not to feed her gluten, is my nutritionist, Dr. P, told me so.

If all started when I got pregnant with Audrey. Hannah was only 8 months old and I was still nursing her. To my credit, I hung in there three months. It. Was. So. Hard. I was sick, tired, cranky, and Hannah became a fan of pinching and squirming. So, when she was 11 months, I gave in. I told my nutritionist that I felt I needed to wean her. He agreed with me, and gave me instructions to find raw goat's milk. A little of that, a little gluten-free rice milk and some water in a bottle. Hannah LOVED it. NO problem weaning whatsoever. And for a while, she seemed even healthier than before. I don't think I had much milk left at that point.

Fast forward six months. Close friends and family members started remarking that Hannah seemed kind of yellow. Her stomach, which had always been kind of round, seemed to get bigger every day. I started to worry. Her moods were very explosive and she was not an easy kid, especially before and after meals. Finally, we took her to Dr. P. He tapped on her stomach, testing to see how bloated she was. Very. "Take her off the goat's milk." He said. Easy enough. She got a ton better within a couple weeks. Then, one day, a friend was feeding her son pretzels and offered Hannah one. Her stomach became extremely swollen again within hours. I didn't understand yet, so I called Dr. P. "You have to keep her away from gluten." Okay, great... What is that? After LOTS of research, I know a little about it finally.

Basically, it's the protein in wheat, rye, and barley. In someone with intolerance, gluten causes the person's immune system to attack their own small intestine, damaging the lining. This damaged lining can then no longer absorb nutrients and break down foods. This creates a domino effect, making the person really, really sick. At this point in time, the only known treatment is a life-long avoidance of gluten.

Most people who have problems with gluten can tell when their body reacts. Hannah is too little to tell me yet. Therefore, the only way I have to know we're doing okay is whether her little tummy is round or flat. It's miserable. And according to adults who do have celiac disease, any tiny trace of gluten can cause a reaction. We're talking about food cut on a cutting board with bread crumbs on it. One lady told a story about getting sick from kissing her boyfriend who had just eaten bread. This is serious, people. And it takes about three days for the reaction to go away.

I suppose there are good things coming of this. For one, I'm learning to cook. My family has always eaten out a ton. It is something my mom, especially, loves to do. Now, eating out is a gamble. There's just no way to tell somebody at Cracker Barrel, "please don't let this come in contact with any..." what should I say? Most people don't know what gluten is yet. It wouldn't even be fair to cause the issue, I feel like. I can order Hannah grilled chicken and steamed carrots, but it doesn't mean she won't be exposed. And if she is, there's no way to tell but by looking at her tummy. But she'll be cranky, and I'll know she can't absorb nutrients for a couple days.

To add insult to injury, Audrey has some issues as well. Since I'm breastfeeding her, Dr. P suggested I stay off gluten to help straighten her out. I've been trying SO hard. For about three months. But sometimes, I just need to have some chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant. Or a bite of thanksgiving pie. Or cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning at my parents'. It is so easy at home, and so impossible as soon as we leave.

I've been eating carefully for 9 1/2 years, and it was nothing compared to this. I get really discouraged sometimes.


You gotta go check this out, especially if you have a digital camera. They will print and mail pictures to you very cheap! Even cooler, they have these photo books. Think scrapbooking but without the cost of expensive supplies and papers, and the...image. There is a certain type of person that I invision when I think of scrapbooking. Okay, okay, I know all scrapbookers are not that, but I have to admit that image has turned me off to scrapbooking on occasion. I just finished a book of family pictures from 2006, and it will be right at $30 to print and ship. Now, to carve that out of the budget...

The snowstorms of '06

The snowstorms of '06, originally uploaded by sakalomi.

Here is the corner. The snowplows went up and down the hill all day and all night to keep it clear. If it weren't for last week's storm, this one wouldn't have been bad at all really. Look at that blue sky though! It's beautiful today.

We always get this huge drift of snow outside.
Normally it's about 4 feet up to the split rail fence.

The girls are currently napping, and then we're getting outta here! Off to spend our giftcards!

I am a nerd

But, do you like my new format? I think it's fun. I wish I could figure out how to get rid of Blogger's title at the top of the page and just have the header I made. When I try to delete the part of the code that makes sense, the whole thing quits working. Lame. Maybe I'll figure it out yet.

Friday, December 29, 2006


Usually, I am very grateful for our spacious townhome. It works just fine for the four of us. But after two full days stuck here and most likely another two before we can leave, it feels VERY small.
The snow continues...

We have lots of food in the house, everybody's healthy, the power is staying on - we have lots to be thankful for. I suppose I shouldn't complain.

And, there HAS been a What Not to Wear marathon on all day. That helps some. :)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

necklaces for christmas

necklaces for christmas, originally uploaded by sakalomi.

Everybody has theories about these things, I know, but I'm raising two little girls. I tell ya, the feminine thing is in the genes. Before she can even talk much, she'll wear necklaces. All day long. It takes so little encouragement from me that I can't help but think she would do it without me. Girls love to feel beautiful.

After both of my babies, I had to work through my sense of femininity. I read somewhere a woman said, "I feel like a household appliance." There's the dishwasher, the microwave, the refridgerator, and the mom. But I'm still a woman, and a wife. I feel so much better about life when doing my hair and makeup, wearing pretty things and taking occasional long baths are non-negotiables. It's at the deepest part of who we are. Do you feel pretty?

Attempt number...

I have had several blogs over the years. The first was on Blogger, back in probably 2002. The craze had just begun. I think I made at least five different ones on the same account. Then I got a myspace. The fact that everybody reads your myspace is fun. If you're going to blog, having an audience is kind of the point. I made a minor attempt at a Zanga, but just didn't like it. So here I am. Incidentally, if you have the google toolbar, the subscribe thingy is pretty cool. You can tell by going to one page whether your favorite bloggers have written anything new.

So, subscribe to mine. And read. Much love.