Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ode to boxed meals... oh, and frozen, too!

"Oh, Pasta Roni, how I love you..."

Do you know what's in my fridge today? My cupboards? My freezer? Premade, prepackaged, preservative-laden crap. That whole "I should make my family's meals from scratch to make them healthier" line went out the window about the time my stomach started growing (seriously, I need MATERNITY PANTS already!) and my visits to the bathroom became frequent enough to make me seriously consider just installing a cot. (I decided not to, since it would have to go in the tub. And I likes me my showers. Not stinking rules!)

Pasta Roni, jar gravy, frozen fries, frozen meatballs, frozen ravioli (okay, that one's not so bad since I've yet to buy a pasta roller to make my own...) (yes, I actually want to make my own pasta...) (stop giving me that look!), hamburger helper (really proud of that one!), and the list goes on. I still insist on real deli meat instead of bologna, real cheese instead of 'individually wrapped processed cheese food product' which by the way gives me the creeps, and fresh fruit and veggies when we can find them on sale. But it's pretty bad. Add that to my addiction to frozen entrees, and I'm pretty sure my sodium intake is about three times what it should be.

You know what? I'm okay with it! (No, I didn't have a mental meltdown first, thank you!) Once I get through this last pregnancy, I can have my tubes tied, my back dealt with, and focus on the family I've cobbled together -- er, lovingly built. Yeah, that's what I meant. I can flip the bird to hormonal birth control (evil!) and actually get some of my pain issues under control because I won't have to worry about "oh, crap, I'm late, am I pregnant again?" Because yeah, I'm paranoid I might hurt the little bean that may or may not be there. I try to keep the stuff I put in my own body to a minimum; I certainly don't want the first influence on my offspring to be some chemical crap I choke down because the muscles in my back won't stop doing a jig.

Yay for no more pregnancies! And yay for crappy food!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Where do they put it all?!?!

My children are bottomless pits. No, really. I feed them, and it's almost like in that Casper movie, where all the food just falls right through them, because it can't all be hitting their stomach. Maybe they hide it in their toes? They have to hide it somewhere, since I'm pretty sure they should have exploded by now. (You laugh, and yet, I wonder. Are my children mutant cows or something? Do they have multiple stomachs?) (Hey, you got a better explanation, I'd love to hear it!)

It seems like I feed them every five minutes. They should be little chubbos by now, tottering around the house like mini Michelin men... er, girls. I should be rolling them around by now. But no! The Metabolisms of Doom (previously mention here on All Your Bread) take every calorie and gobble it up like a greedy little child with a chocolate bar. Or like me with a chocolate bar. (shiver) (Scary.) They keep growing up, not out! I could have sworn that thing was supposed to happen in spurts, not constantly. But maybe I'm wrong. It's been known to happen.

But still. Seriously. We take them out for pizza sometimes, and between them, they polish off a large (LARGE!) pizza by themselves. I can barely choke down half a large pizza. I'm embarrassed to take them out to eat because it looks like they haven't seen food in three weeks! "No, really, Mr. CPS rep, we DO feed them! I swear!" I'm waiting for this conversation. I really am. Of course, all I'd have to do is hand them over for an afternoon and let CPS feed 'em. And feed 'em. And watch them goggle as my children still act like they're half starved.

I'm pretty sure it'd be the quickest closed case in CPS history. (snicker)

Am I alone in having toddlers who eat like teenagers?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's the end of our diets as we know it...

I've finally found something Andrew will cook for the kids without threat of severe bodily harm! (Or a disturbance in the Internet connection... both instill dread fear.) Frozen french fries. Sure, not the healthiest of snacks, but it beats the deep fried sticks of pseudo potato at fast food joints. At least with Ore Ida's ingredient list staring me in the face (with potato as a first ingredient! booyah!) and the certainty that because we lack a deep fat fryer, they must be baked, I can feel sorta (kinda maybe a little) good about my kids eating them. At least it passes for a veggie. (Let me have my damned delusions!)

I still (try to) make (most of) the meals, and I (try to) make them nutritionally balanced while staying on a budget and not requiring ungodly amounts of time on my feet. Sometimes I fail (okay, I fail a lot... but they have Metabolisms of Doom, so I don't feel too terrible) but I like to think my demands for fresh fruit and cheese to be bought and served to our ravenous monsters makes some dent in the french fry habit. Hey, they even like fruit and cheese! Score!

My diet is sadly lacking, however. All that fruit? That cheese? Even the damned frozen potato sticks? Yeah, that's funny. I can't eat them. I crave McDonald's egg and cheese biscuits, which I know for a fact blow my caloric load cheerfully out the window. I want ice cream, chocolate milk... every dairy that isn't cheese and yogurt. You know, the good kinds. My unborn munchkin has his daddy's appetite, god help me. Like Andrew, I drool over steak and potatoes instead of the veggies and chicken I used to love. I want nothing to do with multigrain anything; give me white stuff, all the way.

Some of these cravings and preferences I understand. White breads and crackers are easier to digest, steak is an awesome vessel for iron (along with being, let's face it, freaking tasty), and fibrous veggies can be unsettling to the stormy seas of my stomach. But the ice cream and chocolate milk over cheese and yogurt? (And here I must add that I have had a long-standing love affair with ALL things dairy for my ENTIRE life. I loved the really good stuff, too! I swear!) I have no explanation. Egg and cheese biscuits? No idea. And since I know there's very little of either egg or cheese in those damn things, it can't be a nutrient thing.

I pretty much chalk it up to Andrew's bizarre genetics. It can't be mine. (Stop giving me that look.) I actually like healthy food. (Nevermind that as a kid, I thought kraft mac and cheese and cheapo hot dogs were The Best Food Ever. That has nothing to do with it!) It must be his contribution to The Bump. (I said quit with the look! Obey the crazy pregnant lady!)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New Layout!

Because I am insane (stop smirking!) I decided I wanted to change the look of the blog. Also, I couldn't sleep last night. So at least I had something to do. But dang, Blogger code is twitchy! I just didn't even bother trying to make one from scratch; I took the rounders one and tweaked it all to hell, did and redid images (in fucking GIMP, people, with a laptop touchpad... do you understand how difficult this is???), changed colors until I thought I'd go happily colorblind, and generally had a fun-filled night. I have a headache, my fingers are cramping (and yet, I'm still typing...), but. There's a but. I actually got to keep my dinner down! Everybody cheer for the pregnant lady!

I'm going to pretend you cheered and go on with my life now.


I have come to a conclusion: I am lazy.

I knew this before, of course -- in theory. I may have even admitted it a time or two. But being pregnant and laid out on the couch 80% of the time, I have realized just how lazy I am. I know I need to pick up and vacuum, that's not even up for debate. Laundry was supposed to get done today... yeah, that happened. (snort) I think the only truly "clean" things in my house are the toilets, and that's just because I spend 10% of that extra 20 hugging them and praying for a swift death. (To which I always quickly respond with, "I didn't mean that! Medical coma! Just have someone put me under for 6 months. Please dear god, medical coma!)

Baking? Is so far down the list as to be nonexistent. I actually turned on the oven the other day (instead of making Andrew do it) to make chicken strips for my kids to gnosh on while I wallowed in my misery on the couch. I also managed to make broccoli with a miraculously clean pan. (I did a load of dishes the other day! Go me!) Thank god my kids are (generally) easy to please when it comes to food. My youngest used to have all sorts of "I don't want that, just feed me a baby food, damnit" issues. Do you know how much baby food an 18 month old can go through in a day? Sweet baby Jesus, I thought we'd go bankrupt.

But since my life now consists almost solely of roving the Interweb (shut up, I like my word better) and gracing the porcelain gods with my presence, I figured I should post anyway. "Your regularly scheduled bread baking program will resume... sometime." Or something like that. In the meantime, you can read my snarky comments and laugh at my many creative ways to describe tossing my cookies. (See? There's another one. Ha! I'm on a roll!) ... (Shut up.)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Oh, the horror...

I have a confession to make.

(deep breath) I bought... biscuits in a can.

I know, I know! I, who can bake artisan bread well enough to make my nose wish it could cry, bought pre-made, store-brand biscuits in a can. It wasn't even Pillsbury! I have angered the Baking Gods, shamed my bread baking ancestors. And my only excuse is... well, standing too long makes the being in my belly angry. And I fear it's toilet-hugging wrath more than I do the Baking Gods, or my ancestors. Take it up with the Wee One! It's not my fault!

... oh, good, I wasn't smote down with a cupcake-scented lightning bolt. Perhaps I can be forgiven.

And now I must go, because my ice cream is melting. And melted ice cream is an even greater sin than biscuits in a can.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Life as I know it...

Okay, I know this is supposed to be a bread-baking blog, and I know that I haven't updated in a while, but I'm sure my tiny (and I do mean tiny) collection of readers will forgive me if I use this space for some therapeutic venting. Feel free to skip this post entirely if you have no interest in my bitching. I won't blame you one bit.

My mom died in May; you should know this, I blogged it a while back. She died of cancer, colon cancer, the most treatable form there is. Except by the time any doctor figured out what was wrong with her, she was in the ER in excruciating pain because the tumors had spread so far and grown so large, they were choking her internal organs to death. Now, this is not to say that my mother wasn't partly to blame. I love her dearly (yes, love, present tense, because so long as I live, my love for her exists) but she was not the most medically responsible in the world.

As a child, my mother had problem after problem with her health. Most of it stemmed from the first 11 years of her life, when she lived without a good portion of her diaphragm. This usually kills people at or soon after birth, but my mother's organs shifted upward in the womb, providing the same support to the bottom of her lungs as a normal diaphragm would. She got lucky. But no one noticed. So her organs kept moving up, her lung capacity shrunk, and her heart had so much pressure put on it that it enlarged and had to struggle to work.

X-rays showed doctors the problem, and a series of surgeries fixed it. But damage had been done; more surgeries were required through her childhood as problems cropped up because of this damage. It was hell. My mother understandably grew to abhor the hospital, and she wasn't very fond of doctors, either. Not because she didn't like them -- she was quite grateful to the profession -- but because most visits to the doctor had ended in months of recuperation and pain. As a result, she only saw doctors on a "crisis" basis in her adult life. And only when forced by myself or my grandmother.

Don't believe me? She lived with chronic, debilitating migraines for twenty years (that's 20, as in two whole decades, as in most of my life on this earth) before she went to the doctor for help. Her logic? They weren't going to kill her. And as long as she didn't risk losing her job because of them, they could be dealt with. It was, in fact, the risk of losing her job that forced her hand eventually. My mother, bless her, would out-stubborn a lazy, tired, old, sick, half-dead donkey if making it move was her goal.

But I know my mother. I lived with her for 18 of my now 23 years on this planet, and I went with her on many an occasion to the doctor's office. I know she told at least two separate doctors about her intestinal difficulties. Do you know how they see warning signs of colon cancer? A simple outpatient procedure called a colonoscopy. A stupid camcorder they shove up your ass. Her insurance would have covered it, and god forbid they hadn't, the damn things aren't that expensive. I would know, since the guy I happily shack up with and love to pieces has collitis, which requires ROUTINE colonoscopies. Seriously. He gets one every one-two years. It's THAT simple. It's pretty much the same as a mammogram.

Actually, it's exactly like one. They're just checking a different part of the anatomy for cancer.

This one, simple test could have saved my mother's life. But two doctors -- two! -- missed the early warning signs, so she never got one. When her cancer was finally caught, she was a hairsbreadth away from terminal-stage. That's when they tell you to go home and kiss your loved ones, because there's nothing they can do. They had to extract a good portion of her insides just to keep her alive for the chemo.

Her doctors were skilled or lucky or both, because she survived surgery against all odds. She went through round after round of chemo. The doctors told her if she lived through the next year, she might have a shot. Her quality of life would be severely diminished, she would have to be closely monitored by specialists for the rest of her life (however long that might be), but she might just live. At this point, my mother just wanted to stick around in whatever form to watch her grandchildren grow up, and be damned the condition of her body. As long as her mind was intact, she insisted, she could bear through it.

My mom? Was the shit. A rock in the storm? Psssh. She was concrete-reinforced, diamond-hard, nuclear bunker style. She gave death the finger for two and a half years, and by god, she took the cancer down with her.

Originally, I was devastated that she could have beaten the cancer only to die from the aftermath. Now, I think of it more as a, "I'm gonna die? Ha. You first." Which is just awesome. If Mom had to go, I'm glad she took that sack of shit disease out first. Bend over and grab those ankles, Fate. But see... she shouldn't have died. She fought so hard, went through so much in her life, the deck should have been stacked in her favor, not the other way around. Hadn't she paid her dues already? Hell, she PREpaid.

No parent should ever, ever have to bury their child. It is cruel, unfair, and downright twisted. I wouldn't wish it on my worse enemy -- and believe me, the things I have wished upon them are pretty dark and dastardly. But to have nursed your child through some of life's biggest shitstorms, gotten them to a relatively normal adulthood, and have all that thrown back at you? That's just plain wrong. My grandparents are blessed in so many ways, but in this, they got jacked almost as bad as Mom.

I'm not very close to my family anymore. Usually, this isn't such a horrible thing. I know that if anything important happens, the family grapevine makes a stop at my house. We younger generation (heretofor "The Cousins") have all grown up, and most of us have moved on to the bigger picture of life. The two who are actually still minors are teenagers, the last of the group, just thankful that they're finally moving from the kiddie table to the big one. They, like most teenagers, take only passing notice of the rest of the clan. This is good, this is normal... and believe me, we can use all the "normal" we can get in this family.

But on nights like tonight, I really wish I was closer to them. Especially The Cousins, as they are of my generation. My grandparents are wonderful people, and they try so hard to fill the void left by my mother, but it isn't the same. I can't talk to them on an equal footing because I will always be a child to them, as all of their offspring are. Logically, we are adults, but as any parent will tell you, emotionally, we will always be "their babies." At least The Cousins are all of a relative age, and I could talk to them as peers. But I've drifted apart from them.

I guess it's my fault for picking up and moving to where we had no family, immediate or otherwise. There are hubs of family in many a state, but Michigan is not one of them. I moved away, and therefore all close ties were cut. Only my mom, and by extension, my grandparents, were "immediate" family anymore. It hurts that the cousin I was closest to as a child has so wildly diverged in lifestyle from me; I miss her, I miss being close to another human being who came from the same insane bloodline as I did. I may respect her for becoming her own woman and making a life for herself, but that doesn't mean I can't mourn the friend I lost in the process.

So I'm sitting here, alone but for my kids (who can't understand why Mommy is so upset), thinking about my life. About the unfairness of losing my mother at so young an age, about the family I once was part of and now am simply an extension of, about my lack of human connection. I'm expecting my third and final child, I have a good man, a roof over my head and food to eat... but I feel like I've been ripped off. I want my money back, damnit. And I wonder if I'm just being ungrateful.

But you know what? I figure, if life can suck, so can my attitude for one night.