About Me


Southern New Jersey

I am a Mom to 2 amazing and fun daughters and wife to a great guy and a wonderful father!

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Kayla, my oldest. She is 4 1/2 and is a sweet, loving and silly little girl. She took us 2 ½ years and 3 IVF’s to conceive. Kayla is allergic to dairy. We manage her allergy and work to balance her safety with giving her a normal childhood. Kayla loves to read books and play games - she amazes me every day.

Alysa, my youngest. She is 3 years old and is a silly little spitfire. She’s our monkey and loves to climb on everything. She was a “natural” baby, but it was only b/c of my wonderful doctors that we were able to stop an impending miscarriage. Alysa suffers from Acid Reflux Disease and sleep apnea. She may be little, but she has a big personality. She adores her big sister and is so much fun to be around. She keeps me laughing every day.

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Mothers Day 2009

Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Conversations from Our Home
Stories from a 2 Year Old:
Alysa has been liking to sit down with a small spiral notebook that she has and "read" stories from the blank pages. Here is the progression of her stories:

#1 - "Once upon a time, there was a little kitty."
#2 - "Once upon a time, there was a little Forte Giant." (the Forte Giant is from the Little Einsteins)
#3 - "Once upon a time, there was a little Forte Giant. He was very silly."

3 Year Old Bossiness:
The girls had their bath and Alysa was all snug in our bed under the covers with Taggie & Baby (her taggie blanket and plush baby doll that she can't sleep without). Kayla came up into the bed and started to settle in on my side. Alysa looked at her and told her "You need Map and Swiper" (her dolls that she does not sleep with, but carries around b/c Alysa has Taggie & Baby). Kayla replied, "You go get them for me Alysa", as she starts to get under the covers. Alysa, gets out from the covers and says, "Um...OK." as she goes and gets Map and Swiper for Kayla. Kayla's got it made!

Kayla Knows Who's Boss:
One morning, Jerome had to make a phone call to his boss. When he got off the phone, Kayla asked him who he was talking to. He told her that he was talking to his boss. Her reply? "You were talking to Mommy?"

posted at 8:26 AM  

Monday, January 28, 2008
Another Successful Party
Kayla had her first birthday party from her new school friends. This was very exciting for her. If you remember from here, when I spoke to the Birthday Boy’s Mom, she was wonderfully understanding about us coming to play and leave and not stay for the pizza and cake. The party was at Pump It Up. I’ve never heard of it, let alone been there. I’ve since learned they’ve only been open about 1 year and already they’re booking 6 months out for parties. I can see why. This place was amazing! HUGE inflatable slides and obstacle courses and of course “moon bounces”. Kayla had a blast and adored the slide and obstacle course the most. They have 2 rooms and ONLY do private parties, so it doesn’t get crowded and you’re only with people from your party. They have 2 rooms and you spend 40 minutes in each before going to the party room. So they keep a pretty stead flow of parties throughout the day. The rooms are small enough that I could even manage the 2 girls easily by myself. Good to know b/c Monday and Tuesday evenings they do have open family play (but they also limit the number of people). The staff was very nice, the place was extremely clean and there was NO food to contend with in the play rooms. Ah, BLISS! It was actually a pretty relaxing time for me and I was able to stand back, watch her have fun and chat a bit with the other Moms and Dads of her classmates.

Kayla was cute when we got there and she saw the Birthday Boy and another friend from school. She asked me if Miss Danielle was going to be there (her teacher). Every time another child came in that she knew, she got all excited and ran up to them to say “Hi.”.

Her ever growing awareness of her allergies both makes me proud and breaks my heart. When we were getting ready to leave for the party, she asked me if there was going to be dairy-there. So I explained to here that there would be no dairy during the playtime at the party, but that we would have to leave before everyone ate b/c they were having pizza with cheese. I also told her that I would keep watch out for any dairy while she was playing. She was OK with this. But the look on her face when she realized that not only was the fun over, but that we had to leave while all her friends were going in to eat really hurt. She didn’t fight or even cry – she just had this pout on her face, but not a Bratty one – one that just showed how upset she was.

Now some might ask why we didn’t just go in and not eat. I also ask myself that at times. But, she’s contact-reactive, so if I can’t stop a child or an adult from touching her after eating that pizza, we’d have a reaction. If it was a different food, one that was less messy and dangerous I would have stayed – stayed so she could at least sing Happy Birthday to him. But it’s too dangerous – especially with her very possibly being so close to outgrowing. It again, makes me realize that if I can’t get my full with of her outgrowing this allergy fully, I’d even settle for her to lose her contact-reactivity. As we got to the car, she said, “Oh no Mommy, I didn’t sing Happy Birthday to Ethan”. At least she seemed happy enough to learn that they would have cupcakes at school today for his birthday (of course we packed her a safe cupcake).

When we left and said good bye to Ethan, he asked why weren't staying. I told him the pizza will make Kayla sick. It was very sweet b/c he wanted her to stay and that was evident b/c he offered her cake and when that wouldn't work, a donut. He really tried to come up with alternatives so she could stay. He's a sweet boy. It goes to show again, how adabtable kids are. They just accept things and are naturally willing to work around things.

Here are some pictures of her at the party – keep in mind that I will be having some future parties here – it really is an awesome place. Check out their website b/c they have locations all over the country (they have one in Ohio, Chris). Let’s just say it’s good I have a child with no fear b/c these slides were HUGE and STEEP (I went down with her twice and almost chickened out).

Climbing up the stairs to the big slide

Sliding down

The obstacle course

Doing the obstacle course

Kayla in front of the slide

Me and Kayla sliding

posted at 8:50 AM  

Friday, January 25, 2008
Another One of Those Weeks
Well, we're finally all on the mend. At least for now, not sure how long it will last. Now I just look at the house and shudder. Ever wonder how much a house can be destroyed in a week and a half with 2 sick kids? Come on over and find out.

I do want to share the added organization that was added to our playroom in early January. A while back, we put up a long shelf to put games on. Since we didn't have many games at the time, it got eaten up very quickly by arts and crafts supplies. So after Santa came, we were in desperate need (well, desperate by my standards). So J put up a new shelf. I also ordered these WONDERFUL Organizing Bags. I got the sample back a while back and loved them. Let's say, after Christmas, they saved me. I'm all into storage containers too, but these take up less space and work wonderful for some of the things they got. I have some magnetic toys in the car that they are stored in. The teeny tiny ones are great to hold a small box of crayons. In their playroom, I have games and puzzles in them. Then I got J to hang some pegs on the wall to store them. They don't stop the girls from dumping multiple bags during a day, as well as other stuff. But I think they look great at night when every thing's neat and tidy. :) Here are a few pics of my newest bags in action. You can also see in the pic that there is a handy spot to put a label in it. I put the name of the game or whatever, as well as a pic so the girls know what goes in each one.

All my bags and my beautiful shelf [please excuse the mess of toys...]

My arts and crafts shelf

My last "masterpiece" is a calendar I got back in October'ish. Kayla loved doing it with me or J every day. I figured it was good to help her learn the days and passage of time. But...it was more made for teachers and when you touched it, the days would fall off and she couldn't really do it herself. So instead of spending more money on a new one, I decided to (for now anyway) make this one into one she can do. So I bought a whole bunch of Velcro and put Velcro on the calendar and all the pieces. Now both of them love to do it each day. I will say though that Kayla gets upset when Alysa puts the days on upside down. I think it's cute. ;)

Tomorrow we're having our annual White Elephant Party. And with all the sickness destroying my house, I'd better get back to it. Not to mention this took forever to write with the kids interrupting me every 2 seconds.

posted at 3:35 PM  

Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Blogging Fun
Pssst...I got an Award!

Thank you Christine for passing this fun award on to me. It was nice to see that I was loved, especially after the week I've had (did I mention that Kayla now has a major ear infection?). I'm going to pass this award on to a couple people who always brighten my day.




Second, Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and although I can't say we celebrate this holiday very much (aside from the fact that it's also my Mom's birthday), I've decided it would be fun to participate this year in Kailani’s Valentine’s Day Goody Swap! I've seen these in the past, but usually after everyone's gotten their goody bags. So this year, I'm jumping in!


Here are some answers to a questionnaire she posted on her blog.

What is your idea of a romantic Valentine’s Day?
* A nice dinner out of the house and maybe a night at a Bed & Breakfast so we can sleep in the next day! I'd even take the kids having a sleep-over at my Parents' house.

In reality, what is your Valentine’s Day really like?
* A normal night at home. It's on a Thursday this year, which means J will get home from work at 7 in time to tuck the kids in. We'll maybe have dinner together, if I don't eat with the girls and we'll crash early b/c we're too exhausted to stay up past 9pm. LOL

If you could have a lifetime supply of your favorite sweet indulgence, what would it be?
*I'd say either Reese's Peanut Butter Cups or Butter Crunch from an amazing chocolate place by my Parents' house.

Is there any sweet treat you absolutely do not like?
*Black liquorice, dark chocolate.

If you fell into a pool of chocolate, how would you get out?
*Not sure. Probably swim my way out and drink some up on the way! Then of course, since my daughter is allergic to dairy, I'd hope it was dairy-free dark chocolate and if not, I'd have to be thoroughly hosed down and burn my clothes before heading home. :)

If you're interested in joining in, hop on over to Kailani’s to check it out.

posted at 9:24 AM  

Sunday, January 20, 2008
Gymnastics Recital
Please note my camera is out being repaired. I borrowed my brother-in-law's camera which I'm not used to using. So the flash was not on a couple times and a couple pics are a bit blurry due to my inexperience with his camera.

Kayla had her first gymnastics show this past week. She was in heaven. I was unsure how she'd react b/c she can be very shy. But she was just so thrilled to have me, J and Alysa, my parents and her Uncle John (J's brother) there. We were all in the room (along with many other parents and family) and she was a huge show-off. She had a huge grin on her face the entire time.

So excited we're there.

On the balance beam.

Upside down girl.

Getting her medal - We are so proud!


Our Family.

posted at 6:13 PM  

Saturday, January 19, 2008
Insanity Setting In
Four days...yes, 4 full days stuck in the house with a sick child - ok 3 with 1 sick child and 1 (today) with 2 sick children. Add completely sleep deprivation since Kayla has been up at least half the night every night with a fever and or a horrible cough. I'm exhausted, I'm cranky, I'm hungry and I'm so behind. And did I mention we need to go food shopping? I had plans this weekend - BIG plans. A birthday party today for the girls, a sleep-over at my Parents', which meant a date for me and J tonight and TIME. Time to do things around the house - time to run errands. Oh the bliss I would have felt. Instead, here I am, ready to crash, a pile of who knows what on my desk and around the house with an endless, sleepless night looming ahead of me.

But...there was one good thing that came of today. I decided to take Kayla in to the Ped today. She'd been sick for 5 days and this cough that came on Thursday has made her throw up twice from the force of it. I wanted to make sure it hadn't gotten to her lungs or anything (and she won't take cough medicine). I'm glad I did, I was told to give her Prednisolone (a steroid) for 2 days and it worked like a charm - so hopefully tonight will be a wee bit better.

But...while at the Pediatrician's office a flyer caught my eye. It was a flyer about a Food Allergy Support Group being formed in this area. Let me tell you it brought tears to my eyes. I have searched high and low on the internet for one. A group of people who live my life. Possibly with kids Kayla & Alysa's age. Ones with no extra explaining needed. One with people who understand. It was like a weight off my shoulders to know I could possibly have this. And the best part? It's being formed by Kayla & Alysa's allergist. So I called him - the first meeting is Wed, February 6th in the evening. Crazy, I know that this would excite me. But it does. I know from Infertility the power of being surrounded (either literally or over the internet) by those who understand. The feeling of belonging and the peace and support it can bring you is indescribable. And with our Disney trip (1 year from now) keeping me up at night already, it couldn't have come at a better time.

p.s. Wed, I thought Kayla was over her virus (I thought it was a 24 hour fever bug), and since she was fine in the evening, I took her to her first gymnastics recital. She was amazing. I'll be back tomorrow to post pics...

posted at 7:26 PM  

Thursday, January 17, 2008
A Special Thanks

posted at 10:55 AM  

Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Too Good to be True?
You know that feeling when things just seem to be going TOO good? You feel like it just can’t be – that you have to be missing something. Well that is how I’m feeling right now. I believe I mentioned about 3 months ago or so when J changed jobs that we had some insurance concerns. His new insurance company was an HMO, which means less freedom, referrals and just pain in the tush restrictions. Before he even accepted the jobs I checked on the doctors (their Pediatrician and our regular docs were all on the new company) and thought their allergist and gastroenterologist (both whom we love) were not on the plan [there are NO out of network benefits]. There was also the biggest scare – Prevacid. We were told initially that Prevacid was covered, but only the solutab (which Kayla can’t take b/c it has dairy in it) and there were dosage and time limits. This was the biggest scare b/c Kayla’s dose is over $300 a month and Alysa’s close to $200. This would have been so bad that we considered cobra’ing instead for the full 18 months. Then the owner’s insurance broker looked deeper and said that his prescription plan DID cover Prevacid. I was still skeptical though because I couldn’t call since we were not on the plan yet. This new insurance is the whole reason we are paying out of pocket for Alysa’s feeding therapy – she does not take the new plan, but she’s worth it to stay with her. And did I mention that our copays are going up? $30 for regular docs (unless it’s a check-up than there is no copay). And $30 for ALL prescriptions. We pay $20 for Prevacid now. So that’s an increase of $20 a month for both girls.

Fast forward to November – their allergist told me (his practice is new) that if he is not showing up under that plan yet, he will be by our next visit. He will be in network on our plan. I breathed a little easier.

Fast forward to yesterday. Our new insurance is now effective. I got our id cards over the weekend, so I called yesterday. First, I’ll say they were a pleasure to talk to. I don’t think I’ve ever used insurance company and pleasure in the same sentence before. But the best part is that Prevacid is covered and WITH no hoop jumping (oh the hoops that we had to jump through for Aetna to cover it). Not only that, but the copay is $30 for 90 days! Right now we pay $20 per MONTH, this means that our monthly copay goes DOWN to $10 a month. So it’s actually saving us money. This pretty much applies to all our prescriptions – they allow you to get a 90 day supply through your local pharmacy – no mail order hassles.

And…both their allergist and gastroenterologist are in network, AND the plan actually does NOT need referrals. All HMO means to Oxford Health Plans in NJ is that you don’t have out of network benefits. I can live with that, especially if I can keep my hassle-free doctor visiting.

I keep looking over my shoulder thinking this can’t be right. I’m waiting for someone to pop up behind me and yell PSYCHE!!! If I’m dreaming, please don’t wake me…

posted at 10:59 AM  

Sunday, January 13, 2008
You Know You're Raising Polite Kids When...
...you're at the gas station and when you give the attendant your card and ask him to fill it with regular, you're 3 year old pipes up from the back seat with "Make sure you thank him Mommy."


...you're driving, lost in in your own little world of thought and you burp and then you hear your 2 year from the back seat, "Say excuse me Mommy."

posted at 10:27 AM  

Thursday, January 10, 2008
A Homeschooling Care Package
There is a great give-away going on over at Heart of the Matter. Yes, the same place where my nephew graces the cover of their first magazine cover. Now, I admit, I am not currently, nor plan to be a true home schooler, like my Sis. But, I also can't say I'm thrilled with the idea of tossing my kids into the public school system. So currently, we plan on supplementing their education so my girls don't get lost in the politicized public school system. We want to make sure they maintain the foundation they will get in their Montessori Preschool education. So I can definitely make good use of the contents of the care package. I love to fill the house with wonderful educational toys and things. I love what I see and, of course, I hope to win.

I'm also quite intrigued by the column Standing in the Gap written by Stacey. Her column gives definition to what I hope to accomplish with my girls. Hop on over and check it all out!

posted at 8:24 AM  

Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Kayla's 1st Party
Now, she's had birthday parties and she's been to birthday parties of course. But, on January 27th, Kayla will go to the first birthday party for a school friend. She is VERY excited. Me? i was sweating it out a bit at first b/c it falls on a weekend when my parents will actually be away and of course, J has to work. Thankfully, our babysitter is willing to watch Alysa that day.

As is typical for me, I had to call the place where the party will be located to get the details on the details of the party time-frame, where the food is served, etc. Then I called the Mom today and, as I've found to be very typical (except in a few extreme cases with 1 lost close friend and the rest being family), she was more than understanding. She is completely OK with us going to the party, attending the play time part of the party and leaving when the rest of the kids head into the party room to have their pizza and cake. Not only was she understanding, she thanked me for telling her about Kayla's allergy.

Kayla also has a birthday party on January 19th. This Mom, as usual is wonderful and accommodating and is even going to make sure the kids wash their hands after eating the pizza. Alysa is also invited to this party, so my Mom will be joining me in her usual deputized Food Police Office capacity.

As always, it does my heart good to know we have such wonderful friends and that Kayla has others outside our close friends and family that are also willing to look out for her.

posted at 3:51 PM  

Tuesday, January 08, 2008
My Withdrawal
For the past few months, my camera, yes my beautiful brandy new (and very expensive) new camera has been on the fritz. Not completely, but indoor pictures (with or without the flash) come out grainy and not clear. I finally broke down in December and called Kodak. Today, J shipped my "baby" up to Connecticut to be looked at and hopefully repaired. I'm hoping I don't get, "we don't see anything wrong with it". I shipped with the camera, samples of the pics before the problem occurred and samples of recent pics. So they can't say they don't know what I mean.

Thankfully I held onto my old digital camera. I just hope it works. They're supposed to only have it for 7-10 days starting from when they receive it tomorrow. But I won't hold my breath.

Please send good thoughts that my camera comes back quick and fixed.

It's going to be a loooong 7-10 days!!!

posted at 1:18 PM  

My New Year’s Resolution…
…to get my act together. Will it actually happen? One can only guess. I feel so overwhelmed with how behind I am on some things. My house is pretty much in order; my kids are thriving, but my stuff? Oh boy. I’m way behind on balancing my check book. I can’t seem to keep my desk and office together and I have a bazillion baby things I need to get rid of. eBay? Consignment shop? Give it away? Some of the stuff is in excellent condition, so I’d like to make a few extra dollars off of it. But that takes time AND motivation.

But, let me wish everyone a Happy New Year! We had a wonderful Christmas with the girls loving every second of Santa’s loot. New Year’s was uneventful and nice. J and I were so wiped out; we went to bed when the girls went to bed. He was asleep at 7:30 and me by 8:30. We live it up here in New Jersey. New Year’s Day we went to a friend’s house for the afternoon and had dinner there. Her daughter has a peanut and tree nut allergy, so she went out of her way to make sure we had a dairy-free meal. She made a turkey with ONLY dairy-free margarine. I made all the side dishes and the desserts. I was fine with the extra work b/c any meal I don’t have to worry about Kayla’s safety is worth it. It was the first time I had a worry-free meal outside of my immediate family (not at my house). It’s hard to express the kind of appreciation you feel for someone who lets your child be normal.

Speaking of food allergies, I had a scary moment last night. The girls were in bed and I turned on the History Channel to see they had a Modern Marvels episode on about milk processing. So J and I sat down to watch. It was interesting. But, the scary part came when they talked a bit about Casein, which is one of the proteins in milk. The proteins are what Kayla and other children allergic to dairy react to. Now, I know that lactose is used in some medications, but what I didn’t know is that casein is used in paints, plastic coatings, glue, fabrics, as well as other things. This made me stop and take a deep breath. Now, Kayla has never reacted to Elmer’s glue or touching plastics, or even paint around our house. So either casein is not in those things that we have or the make-up of the protein is changed so that she doesn’t react to it. But it doesn’t make me feel any more comfortable. So I’ll be checking the Elmer’s glue when I get home tonight just to see. Scary stuff them using food proteins in non-food items. It goes along with the desk calendar I got at work a couple weeks ago. In big letters, on the package it said the inks were soy-based. Using the tope 8 food allergens so predominantly in household items can only mean some bad and scary things for the food allergic. The more these things are used, the more hidden dangers there are for those with food allergies.

In the spirit of playing catch-up, Alysa is now in feeding therapy. She is not as cooperative as Kayla was. It is SO hard to get her to try a bite of anything new. Kayla could be distracted by a new toy and she’d take a bite w/o realizing it. Alysa? Nothing gets past her. Her last session, she wouldn’t take a bite until the very end. And there was Kayla, trying to help Alysa along, as well as begging for the food in front of Alysa. See what feeding therapy did for her? Although I hope (since we’re paying out of pocket for this) that she doesn’t need the therapy for too long, I’m not going to hold my breath.

Kayla still loves school – most days she does not want to leave when I get there to pick her up. Our latest challenge with her is I’m switching her to a new gymnastics class. Let’s just say where she is at is not very engaging. They don’t keep her attention and they don’t make an effort to engage her or take time with all the kids individually. But with 15+ kids in the class, how can they? Kayla’s test class at the new place (Alysa loved it there last week) was a mixed bag. She loved all the stuff they had there when she saw it (it’s a real gym, as opposed to a younger kid play place). But…she ended up doing a lot of crying and they let me be with her in the class. It’s a HUGE place with so many other classes going on – many with older kids and older teens. Plus new people, etc. The typical nightmare for a 3 year old. She did well at first, but after about 5-10 minutes it just got too much for my shy girl. She did have fun in spite of herself and the teacher was great. I know she can learn so much and actually have so much fun. So I’ll take her back next week and hope she adjusts quickly, since I have a feeling it will be a struggle to take her back. It’s a fine line – I don’t want to push her into something she doesn’t like or that scares her, but I’m almost positive, it’s just an adjustment thing. I certainly don’t want to pay good money for her to run around an open room with mats and not get much out of it. Wish us luck with her newest transition.

So now, in the spirit of my resolution, I need to go off and see those that I miss and hope they missed me too. Although in order to miss me, they’d have to remember me. ;)

But, before, I go, please also check out this site. You will see the site of a new online homeschooling magazine. My Sis contributes a column to the magazine, and on the first issue’s cover is none other than my nephew, Elliot. Alysa’s equal-in-age-so-different-and-so-alike-in-so-many-ways cousin.

posted at 12:03 PM  


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Blogs I Visit
Allergy Moms Blog
Are We There Yet
Big Blueberry Eyes
Check My Tag
Food Allergy FAQ
Fruit In Season (my Sister's blog)
Go Dairy Free
I'm a Drama Mama
Irish Triplets
My Daughters' Site
No Whey Mama
Our Story
Parenting a Child with Food Allergies
Parenting Solved
Pink Explosion
Principled Perspectives (my Father's blog)
Tuesday's Child

Blogs I've Designed
Fruit In Season
Principled Perspectives

Digi Scrap Blogs
Digi Treats by Pamela
Lindsay Jane Designs
Peppermint Creative
Sworda Scrappin
Tracy's Scraps


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