Videos of the girls being their awesome selves

Filed under: video — by Lauren on January 26th, 2011 @ 9:37 pm

We had a hard day. Sierra is sick, I am sick, and both of us are grumpy. Anya has been a sweetie all day, but just the same, I needed to remind myself that my kids are awesome, so here’s some proof:

Sierra learned to spell her name by listening to Anya recite it:

Sierra loves dinosaurs and Diego:

Anya loves to write her name, with embellishment, of course:

Gestational Diabetes

Filed under: doctor — by Lauren on @ 4:12 pm

About 3 weeks ago, I got the results from my 3 hour glucose tolerance test, and they were not good. Two of my numbers were very high, and having two over the expected limit is the criteria for gestational diabetes. I got the call from one of the midwives at the practice, one who I had never met, and she gave me some basic information, including how to set up an appointment with a gestational diabetes counselor at the hospital, where I would learn about the diet I would now need to follow and receive a glucometer so I could test my blood sugar 4 times a day.

This did not make me happy.

No pregnant woman wants to be told she has to start watching what she eats, especially not one with a sweet tooth as strong as mine, but that part I can deal with. The weekend before I met with the GD counselor was tough because I didn’t have any idea what I could eat, but after she went over how carbohydrates affect blood glucose levels and how to balance carbs with proteins, it didn’t seem too difficult. There’s even room for minimal amounts of treats. The only thing I find very difficult is going out to eat, particularly because I don’t eat meat at non-kosher restaurants and I have to limit my fish intake because of the pregnancy anyway. It makes it hard to find high protein, low carb meals at most restaurants.

The part that has been the most upsetting for me is the need to prick my finger 4 times a day to check my sugar levels. It’s been 16 days since I received the glucometer, and even though I know on a rational level it doesn’t really hurt – there are times when I’m not even sure that I did it successfully until I see the blood – I still have an enormous amount of anxiety when it comes time to push that button. It takes me a long time to work up the nerve to do it, my palms drip with sweat, my heart races… It’s not good. I had hoped it would get easier by now, but it’s not, and knowing that I can still have 5 1/2 weeks or more of this is not helping my anxiety. I don’t know how to calm myself down and make this easier for myself.

There are other things, too. Overall, though I have an occasional off number, I’ve been doing a great job keeping my sugar levels low – I am really careful about what I eat and I started trying to walk on the treadmill for 15 minutes after every meal, since exercise helps your muscles use glucose more efficiently – but I’m finding avoiding the urge to snack between meals and regular snack times tougher as the days pass. I’m hungry, even though I feel full after a meal. I’m afraid to eat anything extra for fear of messing up my levels. The risks that uncontrolled GD poses to the baby are a little scary, especially his risk of having very low blood sugar at birth and the likelihood that he will be larger than usual (like I need any help with that). I also stopped gaining any weight – I haven’t gained anything in almost 3 weeks. This still puts me at a gain of about 25 lbs for the pregnancy, which is fine, and the midwife I saw at my last appointment was not concerned about the lack of weight gain since my measurements still went up and the baby’s heartbeat was nice and strong. Because my numbers are staying under control, she got me permission from one of the doctors to reduce the number of daily tests to 3 instead of 4, which is great, though it still hasn’t lessened the anxiety for the times that I do have to test.

This just sucks. I’m trying to be positive about it, but it’s hard. I know it could be worse – I could need daily insulin injections on top of the sugar checks, I could be having a hard time controlling it (which would not be good for the baby), I could have a thousand other much worse pregnancy complications – but that doesn’t make the situation as is pleasant, and I hate the petty jealousy I feel when my pregnant friends pass their tests. I had almost no risk factors for GD, other than being over 25 years of age (the very kind midwife even said upon meeting me that I didn’t look anything like her typical GD patient), and though I wasn’t 100% surprised that the test came back positive since I had been SO thirsty, it still felt like a shock. I think I could handle it better if I didn’t have to check my sugar levels like I do, and I know that the way that I’m eating now plus the increased exercise is actually great for the baby, which is the one silver lining for me, but I’m in the last trimester of what I intend to be my last pregnancy. I want a big bowl of pasta. I want pizza. I want to have an occasional piece, not bite, of chocolate cake. I want a bagel from the bagel store (50-60 grams of carbs, ridiculous!). Oh, how I want a full glass of orange juice, especially today, since I have a bad cold.

I’m told that I’m now at increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes later in life, but the GD counselor also said that given my low pre-pregnancy weight and the lack of family history of diabetes, I’m not really at a high risk. Once the baby is born, I can resume eating whatever I want. She even said that while I’m having the baby, I can drink and eat anything and not worry about it. Five and half weeks, 37 days, to go, hopefully fewer if this baby shows up around the time his sisters did. Please, please, please, don’t let this be the one that goes past his due date.

A letter to my daughters, well past each of their birthdays, because I am a flawed but loving father

Filed under: Anya,Sierra,thoughts — by Lex on January 23rd, 2011 @ 5:39 pm


My love for you is hilariously massive. I think you two are the most adorable creatures. I’m sorry for every time I’ve had to raise my voice, and I’m especially grateful for how patient, forgiving, and lovable you two are.

Anya, you are brilliant. You ask insightful questions, you reason, you think, and you discover. And my goodness, your memory is insane. You remember things that Mommy and I forget. You’re always listening. You are affectionate, funny, and immensely entertaining. You sing pop songs and kid songs with abandon. You love your sister so much. You are a joy.

You are also impressively honest. You tell us how you feel. We know that cleaning up the playroom makes you feel bored. You say sorry — and, indeed, feel sorry — when you make a mistake. You tell the truth.

Sierra, I foolishly expected that you would be just like Anya as you grew up. You too are a joy and a wonderful person, but of course one with a personality all your own. You love to laugh, you love to be silly, and you love to do whatever the heck Anya is doing.

And oh boy do you love asking questions. We’ve evolved from the never-ending “Why?” to a series of ever more detailed “Whys” instead:

“Why did you put the plate away?”
“Why are you done eating?”
“Why aren’t you hungry anymore?”
“Why did you eat enough?”
“Why are you good at satisfying your appetite?”
“Why can’t you answer that?”

Like Anya, you love music, though your tastes are often more demanding. You love your routines — videos after nap time, stories and music always in the right order — just like your sister did at your age. You love hugs and kisses, and you love showing off how cute you are. You also love trouble, little missy, and frankly it’s kind of hilarious.

Being a parent isn’t always easy. It’s easy to take a kid to the potty one time, or two times. Sierra, when you need to go five times in 30 minutes — and indeed manage to go each time — each successive trip gets a little more annoying. But here’s the thing: Each time, you tell me how you’re a “Big girl!” Or, if you’re feeling silly, “A big monkey!” or some other animal. Each time you hug me as I help you get dressed again. And each time, your perfect little smile makes those perfect little cheeks, which end up right in front of my face, which inevitably results in lots of kisses.

And oh, those cheeks. You and Anya both have inherited your mother’s perfect, kissable, lovable cheeks. I’ve kissed your cheeks so many times, and it never gets old.

You two do, though. It’s hard to look at Anya and comprehend that just two short years ago, she was Sierra’s age, or that Sierra’s just two years shy of four. The two of you are growing up too fast, and I beg you to slow down.

At the same time, I love every new age you reach. Anya, when you get upset now, I feel like I’m pretty good at calming you down, because you can reason and understand. It’s wonderful. At the same time, though, you’re four. When you get upset because Sierra won’t pretend to read you a specific page of a book, or she won’t agree to be the Mean Witch when she’d rather be the princess, it’s again something very difficult for me to process. You are in many ways an old soul, wise and mature beyond your years, and when you act like the kid you are, it forces me to remember that while you’re already four, you’re also only four.

Sierra, as I mentioned, idolizes you. Sierra, you taught yourself to climb into your booster, to climb into your big girl bed, to do so many things that Anya inspired you to do. Yet you keep falling right out your bed in the middle of the night. And I keep trudging in there to lift you — still mostly asleep, both of us — back into your bed. Little tiny you in your big massive bed is a perfect metaphor for your whole existence right now. You are so small and so big.

I love being your daddy, girls.

I’m sorry that Mommy and I got more lax on the blogging. A lot of it is wanting to simply enjoy your amazingness as it happens, and then being too tired at the end of each day to write down all the details about it. I could write volumes about you both; you are inspiring and incredible people, and I feel lucky that I get to know you, let alone live with you and receive your love.

You make my life so much better than I ever expected it could be, and for that I owe you a lifetime of thanks. You both are going to make incredible big sisters to your baby brother in just a few short weeks.

I love you both totally and completely. Thank you for being you.

All my love,


Filed under: Anya,funny — by Lauren on January 15th, 2011 @ 9:20 pm

An excerpt from our breakfast conversation this morning:

Me: I’m no longer on single-parent duty, ask Daddy.
Anya: Don’t say “duty”; that’s like poop.


Filed under: Sierra,video — by Lauren on January 12th, 2011 @ 10:14 pm

I don’t know why this amuses me, but it does.  Sierra loves to climb into her booster all by herself.

Good Advice

Filed under: funny,photos,Sierra — by Lauren on January 8th, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

Yesterday, Sierra was holding two dinosaur toys – an ankylosaurus and a velociraptor.  She told me, “This one can’t push the cart because he only has legs, but this one can do it with his arms.”  Thank goodness she cleared that up for me.  Now I am all set the next time I run out to pick up some groceries with some extinct prehistoric reptiles in tow.

Winter Break 2010

Filed under: family,friends,photos — by Lauren on @ 12:18 pm

The end of December 2010 was crammed with chaos and fun.  Despite each of the girls coming down with a bad cold and ear infection, we still managed to enjoy Christmas Eve at my uncle’s house, a blizzard, a few playdates, playing in the snow, and a rocking New Year’s Eve at our house with friends:

Christmas Eve:

The blizzard of December 2010:

Some of my friends from high school brought their children over for a playdate:

Playing in the snow on December 31st:

New Year’s Eve with the Wahl family:

Silly girls

Filed under: funny,photos — by Lauren on January 7th, 2011 @ 9:59 pm

Anya called me into the playroom to tell me that she was the same as her drawing.  This is what I found when I got there:

(This was toward the end of December)

Sierra is 2, and then some

Filed under: Sierra — by Lauren on @ 9:42 pm

Sweet Sierra Claire turned 2 years old on December 6, 2010.  We celebrated her birthday with an Elmo-themed party at our house, complete with a visit from a 6’2″ Elmo himself (Does anyone know where Lex was during that time?  Hmmmm).  We continued celebrating with a family dinner at Friendly’s and a little party at her class at Anya’s school.

Oh, Sierra, where to begin?  She is such a perfect mix of amazingly sweet and frustratingly stubborn, walking that fine line between wanting to be a big girl and not wanting to grow up too fast.  At home, it seems like she never stops talking and singing, and she’s constantly asking “Why?” about everything.  EVERYTHING.  Her favorite things to play with are little dolls (like the Little People figures), all things pretend play (food, make-up, and doctor’s kits are on the top of her list), and dinosaurs (courtesy of Hannukah, she now has a big collection of dinosaur toys and she even sleeps with a plush stegosaurus and triceratops).  She loves Dora, Diego, Team Umizoomi, and the Fresh Beat Band.  Much like her big sister, she LOVES books. You could actually start many sentences describing Sierra with “much like her big sister” because as she always has, Sierra idolizes Anya and wants to be just like her.  She loves that she gets to drink out of a big girl cup JUST LIKE ANYA, climb into her booster all by herself JUST LIKE ANYA, and sleep in a big girl bed and wear big girl underwear JUST LIKE ANYA (more on that below!).  She wants to be able to walk up and down the stairs and get into her car seat by herself JUST LIKE ANYA.  Do you sense a theme here?

Sierra rocking out to the Fresh Beat Band:

There have been some big changes for our (getting) big(ger) girl recently.  We moved her out of her crib and to her big girl bed in her big girl room a few weeks before her birthday.  I was worried that the transition wasn’t going to go well since the first day we were ready to try a nap in there, she changed her mind at the last minute and insisted she wanted to sleep in her crib, but then she happily napped in her bed for the next two days, declared she wanted to sleep in there at night, and that was that.  The first few days she wasn’t thrilled when her bed time routine was over and it was time for Mommy or Daddy to leave, but since then it’s been a dream.  She goes to sleep around 8 pm and generally sleeps until 7:30 am most mornings.  Remember that baby who was waking up 2-5 times a night to nurse?  Such a thing of the past.

In even bigger news, the weekend after her birthday, we decided to spend the weekend at home and attempt cold turkey potty training, and Sierra did a textbook perfect job.  The first morning she had a lot of accidents, then a little before nap time she told Lex she had to go to the bathroom and got there on time, and with just a few mishaps here and there since then, she’s been wearing underwear whenever she’s awake.  She wore a pull-up over her underwear when we left the house for the first few weeks, but now she wears just her Dora or Princess underwear out of the house, too.  We’re so proud of her, and she is equally proud of herself.  She even stays dry through her naps or overnight some of the time, although we will likely continue to use diapers for sleeping for several more months.

Sierra had her well check in the middle of December.  She was 33 1/4 inches and 25 lbs, 7.5 oz.  Apparently, she’s a shorty (I wonder who she got that from…), and she still has tiny feet – she just moved to a size 5 right around her birthday.  The doctor declared her very healthy and on target or ahead in all areas.  Taking Sierra to the doctor is a very different experience from taking Anya these days.  While Anya gets very nervous, cries, and sometimes is less than cooperative, Sierra almost thinks it is fun.  She doesn’t even cry for shots.  Both the girls got their follow-up flu shots in November, and knowing how it was going to go, I had Sierra go first.  By the time she noticed what was happening, she was already getting her pink bandaid (and couldn’t have been more excited about that).  Then it was Anya’s turn… oh boy.  I think Sierra summed it up nicely when she told her hysterical sister, “Look at me, Anya, I not ‘creem’-ing!” The only tears we get from Sierra at the doctor are if she’s told she has to wait to eat her lollipop.

Much like her big sister (there it is again), I think Sierra is going to be a great big sister.  I wasn’t sure if Sierra was truly going to understand what was going to happen at first, but she does seem to get it now.  She loves to cuddle with and kiss my belly, and talk and sing to her baby brother.  She tells me that he has to stay in there until March because he’s still “gwowing” and that he’s going to be so little when he comes out.  She says she will give him kisses and hold him on the couch, but she won’t drop him.  When I put her to bed, she doesn’t want to cuddle with me, she wants me to lift up my shirt so she can talk to baby brother, and she just loves if he “boops” her hand.  It will be interesting to see how she’ll react when he actually gets here, though.  She’s very possessive of her mommy.

Sierra is going to start preschool at the end of the month – just two mornings a week – so that she’ll have some regular playtime with friends once the baby gets here and I can’t take her to her two Mommy-and-Me classes anymore.  She has very mixed feelings about it.  Sometimes she tells me she’s excited to go to big girl school JUST LIKE ANYA, and then other times she tells me that she only wants me to stay with her.  I think there will be some tears in the beginning, but I also think she’s going to love it.  I can’t believe she’s already big enough to go to school, though.  She’s still my baby, right?

Hannukah 2010

Filed under: photos — by Lauren on @ 8:33 pm

Hannukah was lovely this year.  The girls received so many nice gifts, Lex got his much coveted TredDesk (a combined birthday, Hannukah, Father’s Day, etc. gift from everyone), and I got, among other things, a new Flip camera.

Eating some latkes:

“Lighting” Anya’s menorah:

Lighting the real menorah:

What Anya made for us in school:

The girls in their new jackets:

Sierra opening a present:

Apparently Anya thought she needed some help:

Little People Hannukah set:

Anya at her Hannukah party at school:

Sisterly hugs:

Our menorahs lit on the last night:

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