Saturday, August 25, 2007

Random Pictures

A happy Maccaroni Grill customer. Thanks to the firm for the free meal and C for all the hard work he puts in.
I Love this picture of L. He's such a sweet boy if you can believe that. He has had swollen lymph nodes that have recently cleared up after almost a year of trying to figure out what was going on. After we had a radon mitigation system installed in our home to channel out the radioactive gas, he finally got better. In June he had surgery for his trigger thumb. He no longer has it. He was an awesome patient. He'll start up preschool as well as speech therapy in a few weeks.
This is cryposporidium at it's best. Not a happy camper.
Plum Jam. This is nine pounds of plums picked from a neighbors tree. We still got about 20 more pounds to go.
This is today's pickings.
Earlier this month, C canned 80 of our garden tomatos.
This is the latest horsey ride. Seems like we got one of these every quarter.
OOPPS! My bad.
This is my effort of posting up more pics of myself.
This is L's first catch. He enjoyed grabbing the fish out of water. Me.....not so much.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Hisashiburi (Japanese for "it has been a while")

Oh my goodness, it has been so long since I've updated my blog!!! I could barely remember my login name and password to this thing. OK, where do I begin?

Signing Time

Some of you may be familiar with this show. It teaches sign language for a children's audience. It won awards last year and probably will again this year. It does air on educational channels and there are DVDs you can purchase.

This summer we've been filming with them and so this Fall you may see us on some of the episodes. I'm pretty excited about it and am more willing to try getting these kids on t.v. for fun and to make a little extra cash. A couple of months ago, one of the directors, who is a neighbor of ours, came over to film K looking for crayons. So, the day before the shooting, I got anxious and cleaned out all my kitchen drawers and made one specifically for art supplies. I even went out and bought a fresh, new box of crayons because I have this cute little toddler that finds it amusing to break all our crayons in half.

Well, that morning, the director asks K to show him all the drawers that we have. K walks into the kitchen opens the junk drawer and says, "what happened?" as he sees a nice, neat and organized drawer that is usually full of garbage, legos, pieces, and parts of everything. I was so embarrassed and started laughing from the other room because I knew I was going to be exposed in a couple of seconds. The director asks K "what do you mean?" And K so frankly put it, "this drawer is usually a MESS!!!!!!"

Well, to top it all off, the director has K look for crayons underneath the couch while filming the entire thing. Oh, oh...Sure enough K starts pulling out handfuls of cheerios, legos, and who knows what else was caught on film. As the director laughs he says, "this is so typical."

Oh well, so I admit things around here get pretty messy but I do love a clean house and so it eventually gets done!! Look for us on TV.

Severe Food and Pet Allergies

In the near future I would love to write a more thorough paper on this topic and our experience with this in order to help people out there like us. There are so many things out there about food allergies that aren't 100% true. I want to write our experience from the top to the bottom so that others might have their questions answered as I would have loved for mine to have been years ago.

K was early on very sick with allergies, which I had absolutely no knowledge about. His first year of life was pretty much a very lonely year for me, having no support from anyone. I was his only protector and advocate. My husband was going to school full time, working full time, and the Elder's Quorom President. He had no time and pretty much no idea what I was going through. I had taken my last semester off of school to stay home, in mind that I would finish up my degree the next year. Which I did do.

I would very slowly learn through following my gut instinct, doing lots of research, and a lot of guess work, that he was no ordinary kid. It started out with milk. I figured out it was the formula, I was supplementing him with, that was causing miserable congestion. I've had pediatricians and allergists tell me "food allergies do not cause congestion." I am here to tell the world that "food allergies can cause congestion!!!!" Congestion occurred to two out of my three boys every time they were exposed to specific food allergens.

Then I noticed that every time we visited someone with a dog, K would undeniably get eczema wherever his skin was exposed, particularly his forehead and scalp. He would get a fever and I would regularly give him a shampoo in the middle of the night because he would scratch and scratch (this is just a 2 month old). These breakouts would last a whole week.

It got to the point that wherever the dog touched him, would break out in hives. And wherever anyone touched him, that had touched a dog, would break out in hives. Soon after I was told by his dermatologist that dogs do not cause this kind of eczema and that K just has severe eczema and people have to deal with this their whole lives. I was furious!! He told me that I had to have at least 10 case points where he would get eczema after dog exposure. Ummmmmmmmm, do you think I'm an idiot? How do you think I came to this conclusion?!!! Doctors can be very frustrating. And to think this one was a university professor!!

One day after eating a sandwich my husband went to console crying K. Wherever my husband had touched him, he broke out in hives. He was severely allergic to wheat. He had an anyphylactic reaction to pasta (made from wheat). He was unrecognizable and swollen from head to toe. On the movie Hitch, where Hitch has an allergic reaction to something he ate, we laugh hysterically because we know exactly that it really can be that way!! We rushed him to the E.R. Soon after a blood test would reveal severe allergies to cow's milk, eggs, soy, wheat, and a slight allergy to peanuts and barley.
He was allergic to dogs and cats as well but we don't eat those.

His staples were rice, potatos, and corn(masa, tortillas, grits, pasta). I soon got on the same diet because I nursed him for 20 months. I stopped baking anything fun out of guilt until I learned to make some stuff without allergens. He could have all meats, and most fruits and veggies. Occasionally bananas would make him break out in hives and really ripe fruits made his face red.

I had to get creative as well as simplify what we ate. I perfected my famous tamales and now can cook for just about anyone on a weird diet including vegetarians and people with food restrictions from medical conditions.

I am happy to say that he has outgrown most of his food allergies. We are now able to relax a little. Before, life was really dangerous. Eating out usually meant hives and a not so happy experience. Now, eating at Macaroni Grill no longer means that. He can have their yummy bread, which he devours!!!!! A full plate of pasta, meat, and veggies even though it's contaminated with all sorts of allergens including cow's milk. We think he's still allergic to it. He is served a delicious sorbet instead of ice cream which he absolutely loves.

He had his first hamburger from Carl's Jr. soon after he turned four!! What a marvelous day it was. Soon after he ate his first pretzel, first twinkie, first chicken nugget, first egg( his favorites are hard boiled and an egg in a basket) and I guess his pure, healthy diet went down hill from there!! But, life sure became easier, more convenient, and normal.

He recently had a pizza with cheese on it and he's still alive. I can't say it was completely without a reaction but surely not the same reaction he would get just a year ago after consuming dairy. He has even eaten several peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and has been fine with a dose of Zyrtec. Am I such a bad mom? Oh, but he LOVES them. He's not allergic to dogs anymore but cats sure cause a headache!

There is hope out there. There was a day I thought for sure he would never outgrow his food allergies because they were so comprehensive. He was for sure to get asthma. I imagined him on his mission somewhere foreign and me mailing him his own pots and pans to avoid contamination, his own expensive foods, and worrying about him constantly. School would be stressful. Kids at his preschool started to bring "their own snacks" because they were "allergic" too. People are really accommodating out there and there is always that hope of outgrowing allergies, something that really did happen for us.

Sprint Triathlon

OK, a month ago I signed up and paid my fees to do a sprint triathlon being held just around the corner from where I live. Thanks to Risa's inspirational feat to do one soon after having a baby, I thought hey it's time for me to do something for myself and this is really doable. I've been pregnant, nursing, and carting kids around the past five years, I deserve a little me time and something pretty cool like this to do.

I joined a gym a year ago and this gave me more of a direction in my work outs instead of aimlessly exercising. I've pushed myself physically more than I have in a decade and enjoy exercising, something I loved to do up until I starting having kids.

The swim is 1/4 of a mile, then a 9 mile bike, followed by a 3 mile run. It's all in my neighborhood so I do the actual run and bike as part of my workout. My 7 year old running shoes are tattered and the soles are actually detaching. My mountain bike is not better. I purchased it when I was in high school. The gears sometimes don't catch and boy does the bike really weigh me down, especially up those nasty hills.

I can say I don't know how to swim and have only had one summer of swim lessons to show for. I can definitely float and my favorite way to swim is doing the doggy paddle and on my back. Almost every time I go swimming, someone feels sorry for me and gives me tips, which I've been going off of. And to make matters worse my children and I have cryptosporiduim, the parasite that shuts pools down. We've been battling it all month and probably will the rest of the month. The health department has personally called me and asked us to stay out of water to stop the spread. It's been a few weeks since we've had it and still head strong!!! September 8th is the big day. Wish me luck and I'll let you know the results. Haha. I plan to take up the full 3 hours.

Ironing Shirts

OK, this has been a dilemma for me. Why can't I get myself to iron my husbands shirts?

Soon after we got married, my husband naggingly asked me why I didn't make breakfast for him and pack him a lunch everyday. "My mom did for my dad and your mom did for your dad." ARE YOU SERIOUS?!!! I go to school and work as well, honey dear. I don't see my hot breakfast and sack lunch. how the conversation went.

Well, needless to say the ideals and expectations of married life adjusted and shifted to just where I thought they should be........SERVE YOURSELF AND IRON YOUR OWN SHIRTS! The more educated a women you marry, the less homemaker she's gonna be buck o.

Over the years we've learned to love each other and to do more for each other. I do the bulk of the clean up and organizing around here. I'm home all day with our munch kins watching cartoons, changing diapers, making and cleaning up after meals, it's not very glamorous at all. I even weed, trim hedges, mow the lawn, and take out the garbage. I've usually hung out in my pajamas but have learned just about the right time to jump in the shower without three kids hanging off the shower curtain, usually around Dragon Tales, if I haven't had a bad nights rest. After doing ten loads of laundry and putting them away, making and cleaning up after tens and tens of meals, cleaning bathrooms and rooms all week, why in the world would I want to iron all those shirts?

I have finally come up with the answer!!!!! After all these married years of wondering why women do that for their husbands, usually women not of my generation but of past generations. It came to me after days of thinking about it.

My wonderful, almost perfect husband and father of my children puts up sheet rock in the garage, having had no previous experience, upon my request. He installs by himself, once again having no experience, my beautiful hardwood floors because I dreamed about having them. He comes home and gives us hugs, undeniably tells us he loves us every chance he gets. He still flirts with me, hugs me, and even wants to make out with me!!!

He plays hours and hours with the kids, building things, creating things, getting them to think and learn. He reads to them, teaches them how to read and do math. He always chooses us to hang out with over anything and anyone. His loyalties are no doubt with this family. If it needs to be done, he'll cook, clean the kitchen, and the floors. He helps put the kids to bed and prays with them.

If anyone DESERVES for his shirts to be ironed, it is my husband. For me, the act of ironing shirts is really more an act of LOVE. The ONE thing that sets apart all the other tedious chores I do that says "Thank You for all you do for us. This is the only reason why I iron your shirts......not because it is my duty, not because it is part of my role but purely because I appreciate everything you do for us and I love you."