About Me

Name:
Sue

Location:
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
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
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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On My Nightstand
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Photos
Mothers Day 2009

Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Alysa'isms etc...
Here are two cute things from Alysa:

As I've mentioned, Alysa's hair is quite thin (although the texture is improving as she is getting better). The other day, Kayla went to brush her hair with an actual brush. I had to stop her b/c her curls are so tight, it would get stuck and be hard to get out. So then Alysa brought the brush to me and asked me to brush her hair - she has always loved this. As I'm brushing, she said, "Kayla can't brush her lot of hair, just Alysa's little hair. Kayla has a lot of hair. I have little hair."

Today, she had feeding therapy after missing for two weeks in a row. When we went in, her therapist asked her what she has been doing the past 2 weeks. Alysa's response? "Eating!" Music to all of our ears.




I have been forced to wonder what has happened to Customer Service in our modern day. Some companies have managed to hold onto a strong sense of that and still work hard at taking care of their customers while others have not.

I am a huge fan of Longaberger. In fact, I'm actually a consultant, although I started doing it to feed my habit and currently have a few steady customers. I gave up on buying years ago when the girls came along. This past January was the first time in almost 4 years that I bought a basket for myself. Of course a month ago, Alysa decided it would make a good step stool. Now they are strong baskets, but the way she stood on it, the basket didn't have a chance. She messed it up pretty good. I sent it back to them for repair and I called a couple weeks later to get the status. The woman I spoke to had to have the repair department call me. Within two hours they called back and told me it was about to ship back to me. It was repaired at no charge and was back in my hands a few days later. Now that's what I call customer service.

Kodak, on the other hand is the complete opposite. Remember when my camera was sent for repair back in January and again in March? Well it was still broken so I have since been fighting for the replacement I was told I would get if I had two failed repairs. Why do I have to wait for two in the first place? Only they know. I wouldn't think it would be cost-effective to fix the camera. So they took my camera over a week ago, sent it back to the "repair" shop and are now giving me the run-around for my replacement. I have since asked for a refund which they refuse to give me. Personally I don't want another Kodak camera at this point but I'm stuck with it - if I ever get it back. They say I get a replacement because two repairs failed, yet now they say they were waiting on the repair shop to approve the replacement after inspecting my camera. Originally I was told that once the camera left my hands, my new one would be sent out in 3-5 business days. Now I'm told it will be 7-10 days from TODAY. Um...the girls have their gymnastics show on May 11th. Needless to say I'm freaking out. Yes, I have my old digital camera (they do not know this). But...although it takes good pictures, it is super slow between pictures and will severely hinder the pictures I will be able to get at the show. I told them about the show and I was told they'd send me 2 one-time use cameras. Do they seriously think those are a suitable substitute for any digital camera, let alone a $300 model? I told them to keep them. Supposedly they left it today that they would contact the replacement department and try to get them to expedite it - but I think he may have just said that to get me off the phone. Needless to say I will NEVER buy Kodak again and will certainly not recommend them. It is not because of the defective camera, but because of how they have failed to stand behind their product and correct the problem.

And if you want my opinion on why they sent the camera back to the repair shop when I was promised a replacement? So they can have them "fix" it and sell it as a refurbished model. So, beware of Kodak's refurbished products!!!




In lighter news. My parents will be taking the girls for the ENTIRE weekend - Friday to Sunday. I am quite excited. Friday night, J and I will be doing something - not sure what yet. Saturday during the day I will be doing some digital scrap booking with a girlfriend and Saturday night, her and I and another girlfriend will be doing dinner and a comedy club. Sometime in between I'm supposed to work on catching up with some household stuff - check book balancing, ebay auctions, etc. Any bets on how much productive work I get done?


posted at 5:59 PM  
  6 comments



Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Bath Terrors
We have been really lucky with both girls that they have loved their baths. They may not have been too thrilled with them when they were newborns, but other than that, bath time has always been a fun event in our house.

As they have gotten older, they started to not like the stray hairs of mine that escape their hiding places while they are in the bathtub. And any fuzz that ends up in the bath tub? Forget it, I spend time trying to get the floating fuzz out of the water, which is no easy task.

As annoying as this can be, I would prefer it over the sheer terror that has overtaken Alysa in her last 2 baths. Her disdain for the “Mommy hairs” (as they call them) and the fuzzies has turned into full blown terror! When I gave her a bath last Friday evening, she saw a piece of fuzz, (which I could not find by the way) and went into a full blown panic attack. She was screaming and crying, completely inconsolable. She refused to sit down and was freaking out and screaming, “It’s going to get me!!!” over and over as she was trying to claw her way over to me and out of the tub to safety. All of this before I even washed her. So I had to do the fastest washing in history of a child who was trying to climb out of the tub. She was sobbing hysterically. It was very sad and pathetic. Once she was out of the tub, she was fine – she went and got her diaper for me and her clothes so I could dress her in the bathroom. Kayla? She took it all in stride and took a more leisurely bath.

I was hoping this was a one-time incident. No such luck. Sunday, when my Mom gave her a bath, she had the same terror-filled breakdown from a little piece of soap that had ended up in the tub after my Mom washed her. So again, her bath was a short one.

My question is this – how do I manage to find every last piece of stray hair before getting them in the tub? Even if I cleaned the thing from top to bottom every day, we all know how hairs can be stubborn. And with our bath matt suctioned to the tub floor, it leaves lots of little hiding spots for my hairs. They just lay in wait for poor Alysa to get in the tub.

I know Mom [*eyes rolling*] – “This too shall pass.” I just hope this phase passes quickly!!!


posted at 10:18 AM  
  6 comments



Saturday, April 26, 2008
She has a belly!
Yup, that would be Alysa. I can't say she's a perfect eater. Dinner is our hardest meal, but she's eating 2 pretty solid/good meals a day for the most part.

Here is a picture from the 19th. You can really see the belly she has recently developed. Very exciting for us!



posted at 4:55 PM  
  2 comments



Friday, April 25, 2008
Alysa's Idol
Every week, during her gymnastics class, Alysa and I get the pleasure and honor to be able to watch an Olympic Team contender. Darling (aka Darlene) Hill is 18 and has been a student at the gym that Kayla and Alysa go to. She is an amazing gymnast and such a sweet person. All the kids are mesmerized by her. What most impresses me, aside from her talent, is how much she enjoys the kids. She takes time out of her training to talk to the ones who want to talk to her. Of course, I love that she gets a kick out of how talkative Alysa is. She was so impressed one day with how well Alysa said her name, she gave her a hug. That made Alysa's day. Whenever it is gymnastics day, Alysa is not only excited to see her teacher (whom she adores), but she talks nonstop about seeing Miss Darlene as well. Whenever Alysa watches her do something on the bars or the vault, etc. She'll run after her yelling, "I can do IT!" or "My turn!"

Recently, Darling won the gold medal for both the floor and as part of the US team as a whole in California. This is an international competition which is a preliminary one for the Olympics. The Olympic try-outs are in June in Philadelphia and Darling has a really good chance at making the US team.

The girls were so excited to see Darling perform on TV when the competition was televised a couple weeks ago.

You can go here to see her perform. There are links for the vault and the floor. The CBS newscast link will take you to a recent interview that was done with her.

We are all crossing our fingers here that she makes the team for the August Olympics. The girls will be so excited to be able to watch her on TV again! I find it so cute to see how much Alysa loves her, her first idol. She couldn't have picked a better one.


posted at 10:27 AM  
  2 comments



Thursday, April 24, 2008
She knows me so well
First, let me say my camera, although being repaired twice, is still not working. The picture quality is horrible. I finally got Kodak to agree to issue a replacement. It took a bit too long if you ask me and will think twice before buying another product from them in the future.

But...Tuesday, my camera was being picked up so I can get my new one. J was getting Kayla ready for her rest when they had this conversation...

Kayla - "Take a nap with me Daddy." [she knows him really well too]
J - "I can't honey."
Kayla - "Why?"
J - "I have to wait for a man to come."
Kayla - "What man?"
J - "A man for a shipping company to pick up Mommy's camera so she can get a new one."
Kayla - "Oooohhhh, you can't give the man Mommy's camera. She LOVES her Camera!"


posted at 1:39 PM  
  2 comments



Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Nutritionist follow-up
On Friday, I had a follow-up appointment with Alysa’s miracle-worker Nutritionist. She is thrilled with Alysa’s progress, which means it is on with the next step. We have begun the very slow process of weaning her off Prevacid. And I very slow. But it is very nerve wracking me. I’m anxious about it. It is still not easy going with feeding her, but she will eat. It sounds awful to say, but I hate meal-time. I just hope that the newest supplement we’ll have her on and the weaning go well. I hope she continues to make progress and is on the path to a full eating recovery.

I also got a chance to talk to her Nutritionist briefly about Kayla. The steps there would be to go down a similar path with her – supplements, take her off soy, etc. I’ll pass on the custom vitamin since she has no current eating or nourishment issues. I will most likely switch her to a more comprehensive vitamin that she is on now. So that is our next step once I get around to ordering more of the supplements.


posted at 1:08 PM  
  2 comments



Saturday, April 19, 2008
Food Allergy Cooking Show
I read in the latest FAAN Newsletter that a new television premiered in December of 2007 in Massachusetts. It is called You Won't Even Miss It and is a cooking show for those with food allergies. The show is done by Nancy MacDonald (a Mom to a child with multiple food allergies) and Chef Rick Tarantino (who also suffers from food allergies).

Currently they have 4 episodes that you can view on-line. They also have some of their recipes on-line. I watched one of the episodes, and the foods were free of multiple allergens. The main dish, an Asian salad was gluten free and they made cookies which they did 2 varieties - gluten-free and with gluten.

The four episodes they currently have online are:
Episode 1 - Christmas Treats
Episode 2 - Taco Pinwheels and Wheat-Free Taco Bites
Episode 3 - Pizza & Mango Creamsicle Smoothies
Episode 4 - Asian Chicken Salad & Better than Peanut Butter Cookies

I have never been one for cooking shows - but I would love a show like this to go national.

Click below to play Episode 3.


You can view their website here.


posted at 1:57 PM  
  1 comments



Friday, April 18, 2008
Mixed News
I am not sure if I mentioned that the girls have their gymnastics show on Mother's Day this year. Not the best day for me, but J took off for our annual Mother's Day brunch, so now he can go. I'm trying to find the silver lining in giving up my Mother's Day. We'll still have our annual brunch, but I'll spend my afternoon taking pictures of my girls at the gym. Maybe that's not so bad after all.

So without even thinking, I signed the girls up for the show on Monday. Then it clicked - oh no - what if they have food? So yesterday I talked to a woman at the desk and she said yes, they usually have some food. I explained why I was asking and her response? "Well, shouldn't she know not to eat anything?" Um...why didn't I think of that?!? I ignored the comment and explained that she was contact reactive, yada...yada...yada. She then had me speak to the man who is handling it. He told me that they would have soft pretzels and possibly hot dogs. He also said sometimes they get candy and chocolate (they sell all this stuff). After asking me about her allergy and if the pretzels are OK (I know for a fact the Philly soft pretzels DO contain dairy), he then voluntarily offered to NOT put out any chocolate. I had told him that although the pretzels contain dairy, they are a much lower risk because dairy is only a small part of the pretzel, but the chocolate is what really concerns me. So I'll be getting in touch with him as it gets closer to confirm this (he said he'd make a note for himself). I can't tell you how appreciative I am. The food will still add another level of anxiety to the day, but knowing they are willing to work with us is very comforting.



Today, I finally got around to dropping Alysa off at her baby sitter's so I could go and observe Kayla at school. The only thing her Montessori school is missing is the two-way mirrors. So in order to observe I had to be in her class. She was so excited to see me (I hadn't told her I was coming). You know me and my camera - well, I didn't take any pictures because I didn't want to disrupt her anymore than she already was. I got to see her doing some of her work, but I was a bit disappointed that she decided today to spend about half the time I was there reading books. Um...I can see her do that at home. ;) But it was nice to see not only her working, but the other kids. Some were coloring or drawing or working with pictures, others were working with the materials and others were reading and writing. And the most amazing thing? The entire half hour I was there, her thumb didn't go in her mouth AT ALL! I was shocked. Her teacher said she's getting better with it when she's busy - when it's circle time, it's harder for her.

But...while I was there, I found out that her teacher is pregnant and due in August. Of course, I'm happy for her, but I now feel sick to my stomach. She will not be teaching next year which means that I have to work with a whole new teacher with regards to Kayla's allergy (at Montessori the kids stay with the same teacher for their years of pre-K and Kindergarten). I love her current teacher and so does Kayla. But most importantly, she seems to really get it. She understands the seriousness and has worked hard at keeping Kayla reaction-free this year. I'm going to be requesting that Kayla stay with her current teacher's assistant so at least one person going into next year will be used to dealing with her allergy.

Would it have been too much for me to ask her to wait 2 years to have a baby?


posted at 2:21 PM  
  4 comments



Thursday, April 17, 2008
Odds & Ends
First, let me start by saying how tired I am of this book...

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Alysa got it from the Easter Bunny and it has been her naptime and bedtime book every day since.

It has been absolutely gorgeous here. Yesterday, being that it was my birthday, I made the girls and I breakfast for an early dinner (J was working late), had cupcakes with them so they could sing to me and then took them outside for over 2 hours before bedtime.
Here are some clips of them singing to me. Alysa was not into it at first until she switched seats with Kayla. Yes, the fish, Sister, had to join us. You'll hear me call it Freddy - I can never remember that this is a new fish and not the old one.


Make video montages at www.OneTrueMedia.com


My parents came down to watch the girls so I could go to my Food Allergy Support Group meeting. I'm paying for that today because as usual I was at the meeting until 9:30 and then one of the other members and I bonded for an hour in the parking lot. Come to find out both of our husbands are Cancer survivors, we both battled infertility (and used the same doctor's office) AND we both have a child with food allergies. We've decided that at our next meeting we'll go out for coffee afterwards instead of standing in an empty parking. ;)



Here is Kayla's current favorite song. Kyle Dine suffers from multiple food allergies and has a CD with songs all about food allergies. I got the CD a month or so ago and Kayla has just gotten into it. Her favorite song is Epi-Man. So not only am I reading Llama Llama Mad At Mama multiple times a day, my CD player in the car always has Epi-Man on repeat.

Here is a clip with an interview with him and after the interview, he performs Epi-Man.



posted at 1:46 PM  
  5 comments



Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Food Allergies – Disability/Special Need?
I came across this topic over at Janeen’s and Allergy Moms. Ironically, it is one I recently discussed with my Mom and J.

This article published on April 14th highlights one child’s denial into his town Youth Department due to his nut allergy.
Here are some highlights from the article:
”AMESBURY — With food allergies becoming more common, new questions are arising on whether having an allergy that requires life-saving treatment falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act — a law that protects citizens from discrimination based on a disability.
In Amesbury, it's an issue that has hit home. A 6-year-old boy was denied entry into the town Youth Department's summer program last year due to a nut allergy.
Some say the child's legal rights are being violated. But at least one state official says the law isn't as clear-cut as advocates might think. A food-allergy case has been filed with the state Commission Against Discrimination but there has been no finding yet.
Town officials say the current policy — which is reviewed annually and is currently under consideration — discourages taking children with severe food allergies into the program. Officials justify the stance by citing a number of unique factors with the youth program that would make it extremely difficult to make provisions to deal with a life-and-death situation.
‘Although we could train all the staff in EpiPens, there are difficult controls with having an outdoor program that is spread out at the park," Recreation Director Kathy Crowley wrote in an e-mail last week. "In addition, controlling the food and outdoor areas is extremely difficult with 300 children in one program, especially since what kids bring to the programs for snacks and lunches is predominantly peanut butter.’
In Amesbury, the number of children with life-threatening allergies is significant.
According to school nurse records, there are 14 students with life-threatening allergies that have EpiPens just at Amesbury Middle School.”


”After his son had an allergic reaction while on the school bus in December, one Amesbury father is urging state legislators to adopt a state law that would require bus drivers to be trained on how to administer an EpiPen.”

You can read the entire article here.

Do I look at Kayla and see a “disabled” child?” No. But there is no denying that she is a child with “special needs”. She needs special care and attention to keep her safe. I don’t go to birthday parties with the girls without a second pair of hands and eyes. This has nothing to do with not being able to handle both my children. It’s about the need for me to not take my eyes off of Kayla, which leaves me with no way to watch Alysa as well. I have opted out of going to certain types of places or events. I do my best to balance Kayla’s special needs with the fact that she deserves a normal childhood. I don’t ask others to ban dairy from everywhere we go, but I appreciate whatever accommodations they do make for her. I was told at her gymnastics, that during her class, I could leave and come back when it is over – with her allergy, I could never even consider this.

In preparation for her entering the public school system, I have been under the impression that she was and is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act - more specifically Section 504. I will obviously be looking into this more heavily as she gets closer to attending public school in first grade. I am not a supporter of food bans. I think they are impractical and can create a false sense of security since reading ingredient lists can be very tricky and cross-contamination issues are not easy for everyone to understand. Asking other parents to know what does or does not contain certain ingredients when they do not live the allergy daily is much easier said than done. Plus, there are a lot more food allergies than just peanuts and banning all of them would be extremely difficult to say the least.

With regards to whether the town Youth Department or any other organization should be allowed to bar a child from joining, there is no easy answer. I think it comes down to the type of organization and how the group is funded. For example, a privately funded school getting NO government money should be allowed to accept or deny any student admittance. If they can not or do not want to take on the risk and extra work required to care for a food allergic child that should be their choice. They are being funded solely through their customers. I can not say for sure that Kayla’s school gets no government funding. But I believe they are 100% private, so for argument’s sake, I will assume at this point that they are a fully privately funded school. Therefore, they did not have to take Kayla. Do I think it is right for a privately run school or youth program to deny admittance to a child with food allergies? NO! But it should be their choice. And knowing that Kayla’s school had a choice makes me more comfortable with her being there. I know that they are up to and willing to take on the challenge of caring for her. And they have proven that every day she has been there this year. Now, for a government funded school or organization, the rules should be and are different. A public school is funded through taxes; therefore they can not deny any child access (short of a child being a danger or threat to the other students). Their parents are paying for that school just like the parents of a child without food allergies. Yes, other parents have a right to want what’s best for their child at school and so do the parents of the food allergic. This goes to show one of the many flaws of government funded and government controlled schools (but my feelings on public schools in general are a whole other story).

So, if this town Youth Department is township run and funded like it sounds, that would mean it gets some or all of it’s funding from the residents of the town (i.e. through taxes). Therefore, that little boy should never have been denied access. His parents are then paying for a program that their son is denied access to.

In the food allergy world, I see a lot of negative and downright nasty comments from other parents when it comes to food bans (namely peanuts) or accommodations being made for the food allergic children (such as peanut-free classrooms instead of peanut-free schools). Some even go so far as to tell parents that they should be homeschooling their food allergic child. Again, this boils down to funding. Why should I be forced to home school when I too am paying for the public school system? ESPECIALLY when all it takes to keep a food allergic child safe is education, some emergency training and some adjustments in how things are done and sometimes, yes, what foods are offered (not necessarily bans). This can all be worked out in a way that helps the parents and food allergic child without any undue strain on the other parents and children.

A Disability is defined as…
”A disadvantage or deficiency, especially a physical or mental impairment that interferes with or prevents normal achievement in a particular area.”

I find it ironic, that of all the things that can be considered a disability, the one that some parents find most offensive is the one that revolves around one of our most basic human needs – eating. Don’t these children deserve to eat safe foods in an environment that is safe? Yes they do. Don’t the other children? Yes they do!

There is no answer to this question that will make everyone 100% happy. But if we could focus on educating rather than forcing, then I think most parents would be more than willing to accommodate our food allergic children to the best of their ability.

As for bus drivers and epipens – that is just downright scary that they do not or are barred from using them. It comes down to safety. If a child on that bus needs special medical care, the bus drivers should be able to administer it (within reason). Epipens easily fall under basic medical emergency training. Include it with a CPR and first aid course. Shouldn’t bus drivers know how to handle an emergency situation, especially since there is no nurse around like at the school? I guess this is one reason I should be thankful that Kayla won’t have to ride a bus until she is in high school (she'll be a walker for elementary & middle school - or more accurately, we'll be driving her).

I dread the day that I have to send Kayla off to public school. I don’t have a choice in where I send her like I did for preschool. So I will have to work with what I do have access to and if that means utilizing Section 504 to make sure she is taken care, of then I will do that. My tax dollars fund that school, so you bet that I’ll expect them to make whatever accommodations are necessary to keep her safe!!!


posted at 8:07 PM  
  3 comments



Sunday, April 13, 2008
Walk for Food Allergies
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Food allergies are on the rise in children. Currently, it is estimated that three million children in the United States alone suffer from food allergies. Food allergies can be fatal – it is estimated that food allergy-induced anaphylaxis accounts for 100 to 200 deaths per year in the United States. [Source: FAAN]

Food allergies affect the every day lives of those who suffer from them, as well as their family. It take constant vigilance to keep a child with food allergies safe, as complete avoidance is the ONLY way to avoid a reaction. There is currently NO cure for food allergies.

Eight foods account for 90% of all food allergies – those are milk, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shell fish. It is possible to develop a food allergy at any age and at any point in your life.

When Kayla was first diagnosed with her dairy allergy, we were told that the odds were she would outgrow it by the age of three and, if not, almost definitely by the age of five. As of now, at three and a half, she has not outgrown her allergy. Milk is the most common food allergy, especially in children. And, until recently, it was thought to be one of the ones most often outgrown. But recent studies have shown that dairy allergies are becoming more persistent. The current numbers (from a 2007 study) show that children with a dairy allergy have the following chance of outgrowing their allergy:

19% will outgrow it by the age of four (Kayla will be four in August and has so far NOT outgrown her allergy)
42% will outgrow it by the age of eight
79% will outgrow it by the age of 16

[Source: her allergist & FAAN]

This is a huge difference from what we were initially told three years ago.

The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) was founded in 1991 and is a great source of information for those who live with food allergies. They work as an information source and an advocacy group, as well as working on research and publications on food allergies. Their mission is as follows:

“To raise public awareness, to provide advocacy and education, and to advance research on behalf of all those affected by food allergies and anaphylaxis.”

[Source: FAAN]

On August 23, 2008, I will be participating in FAAN’s Walk for Food Allergy: Moving toward a Cure in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. I am doing this to help raise awareness of food allergies and to help educate those in our lives, as well as others on the dangers and trials of living with food allergies. My goal is to raise money to aid in FAAN’s education of others, as well as the research for finding a cure.

I have invited both friends and family to join me and help to raise money in Kayla’s name for FAAN. FAAN is also allowing Virtual Walkers for those who want to contribute but can not attend a walk or who do not have a walk location near them.

I anyone is interested in donating to FAAN you can do so by clicking on the button above or on the button in my side bar. You can also visit my page and view our progress over the next few months here.



For those interested in how much of the donations actually go to FAAN's goals, you can view that here.


posted at 8:14 PM  
  1 comments



Friday, April 11, 2008
Recent Kayla'isms
Wednesday, I took the girls to a playground nearby where we were meeting up with a Mom and her son from my support group. We got their first and there were 2 Moms and 5 kids already there. No big deal except 4 of them were boys - older-bigger boys and very rambunctious. They were running up and down the slides - (not moving out of the way when Kayla wanted to go down), jumping on the moveable bridge and just all over the place. Did I mention the other Moms were ignoring all of this? Anyway, Kayla really didn't care - it didn't phase her. But Alysa, she was terrified. She clung to me and refused to go play. So finally, Kayla tired of playing without her sister, came over to Alysa and asked her to go play with her on the play ground. I told Kayla that Alysa was scared and wanted to stay with me. Kayla went right up to a couple of the boys and said, "Stop it. You're scaring my sister. You're upsetting her!" That's my daredevil - no fear. Thankfully they left shortly after that so Alysa could play. :)

I am still driving my In-Law's Durango, as J is almost done replacing the transmission on his car. So, on the way to school today, Kayla asked me again, if I liked their car. I told her that I didn't and that I missed my car. She asked if I liked Daddy's car. I told her yes. She said she liked her car. So I asked her which car was hers. She replied, "Um, I don't really have one."

Yesterday, Kayla made a "Q" book at school. It is a little square book of pictures that begin with Q and she colored all the pictures. She was so proud of it yesterday and even read it to Alysa has her nap-time book. So when I picked up her up from school today, the first thing she told me was that she made something for Alysa. When I looked in her backpack, she had made Alysa a "Q" book so now they both had one. I was touched by how sweet she was.




So hopefully J's car will be fixed tonight. He says he only has to adjust a few things on the gears. My fingers are crossed - I want my car back. I only get to drive it now the days I work. I miss my automatic, push button sliding doors. I miss Kayla's booster seat where she can get out of the car all by herself and I miss my gas mileage.

We have a low-key weekend ahead. My parents will be coming down but other than that, we have a project to do for Kayla's school. We have to put together her Giant Panda Diorama. Should be fun - if I can get her to sit still long enough. I'll post a picture when it's done.

But for now, I must head up to bed. I'm quite exhausted.


posted at 9:01 PM  
  3 comments



Thursday, April 10, 2008
Turning a Corner
Yes, I think Alysa has actually started to turn a corner on her eating. The week before Easter we missed her feeding therapy because the girls had colds and I just couldn't deal. Then we missed while we were in Ohio - she barely ate in Ohio. We didn't get back on schedule until last week at Feeding Therapy. At this point her therapist noted that she thought Alysa looked better - her complexion, her eyes were brighter. I hadn't noticed because I'm with her every day. But that day, she ate wonderfully for her - didn't put up much of a fight and ate a really good quantity. That my friends is the day it started looking up. Every since then, she's been eating really good - for her, but really good nonetheless. Now, eating good for her means I still have to coerce and bribe her, but all of that is actually working. Usually, no amount of bribery, coercion or toys will work. But now, sometimes all it takes is me giving her the option of me feeding her a bit or her feeding herself a bit. Sometimes, a toy during meals works - she has toys that she only gets during meals and she can only play with it if she continues to eat. But this is all working now! It's amazing. She started on all her new supplements and vitamins and being off soy on March 12th. So it took a good 4 weeks to get her feeling better, but now that she is - the change is miraculous! She's eating whole waffles for breakfast and WHOLE sandwiches for lunch - let me point out that eating 1/3 of a sandwich was a lot for her 2 weeks ago. It's still no picnic to feed her, but I feel the weight easing ever so slightly. I feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and that she may just pull through this!

And it's just in time as we have the follow-up next week with the nutritionist. Her therapist thinks her next step, will be to add a supplement to work to heal her stomach and get her off Prevacid. In the meantime, maybe her feeding therapy will actually start to work more now that she's more receptive and she will start eating more varied foods. Did I mention she took 5 whole bites of chicken last night? Amazing!


posted at 8:14 PM  
  1 comments



Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Nexium Approved for Kids
I read recently at Parenting Solved that Nexium has been approved for use in children as young as 1 year. With children more and more being diagnosed with reflux as opposed to "colic", I'm happy to see more focus being done on these medications for use in children and babies. Both my girls are on Prevacid and have been since infancy. So the more focus put on them the safer they will be when they need medication. Not to mention, the more medications that become available, the cheaper they will become.

You can read more about it here.


posted at 10:28 AM  
  0 comments



Sunday, April 06, 2008
Tax-Free Day
So, we all hear how expensive it is to live in New Jersey - how high the property taxes are, etc. And I live this reality every day being somewhat stuck here for now - it's not that easy to pick up and move out of state. Believe me, I wish it were.

But there's nothing like have it pointed out again just how expensive and over the top taxed you are.

Tax-Free Day - the day of the year that the average person stops working to pay the government and starts working for themselves. The average Tax-Free day for the country is April 23rd - meaning that basically, the money you make from January 1st to April 23rd all goes to the government. After that, it's all yours - aren't you lucky. Then there is New Jersey. OUR Tax-Free Day is May 7th - 2 weeks later. We have to work an extra 14 days to pay all our taxes. Bet that's making the guys in Trenton feel all warm inside!


posted at 8:33 PM  
  2 comments



Saturday, April 05, 2008
Food Surrounds Us
Yesterday our school's newsletter came in the mail. Excluding the school budget information, out of 18 articles, 8 involved food. They were either about field trips (past and future) or activities that involved food, or projects and events that revolved around or involved food.

It gives me chills...


posted at 2:52 PM  
  3 comments



Friday, April 04, 2008
Some Food Allergy Business
Trace Adkins was recently on the Celebrity Apprentice, and unfortunately did not win. His charity was FAAN - Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network - his daughter suffers from severe food allergies. But...you can still help him help FAAN. If you purchase his live version from the show, all proceeds got to FAAN. There is a link on FAAN's website or you can go to iTunes directly. You can hear the song, You're Gonna Miss This here.

You can hear a bit about his story here:





When you navigate and manage the world of food allergies it can limit the quick, convenience meals that are available to you. Most, if not all of your meals and food need to be made from scratch. This can make things difficult on those days where you are just too exhausted to think about cooking. I was recently told about a company, GF Meals that makes and ships prepared meals, ALL being Gluten and Casein Free. The company was started as your typical company catering to those who wanted quick and yummy meals. They changed when they saw the demand for casein and gluten free foods. Everything is frozen and ready-to-cook with the options of entrees, side dishes and baked goods. ALL their items are gluten and casein free which means neither of those items exist in their kitchen. Which makes me happy – with no cross-contamination issues. I have not yet tried them but after I check into them a bit more, I just may – they’re dishes look delicious. I would love the option for some quick, healthy (they’re all organic) foods that are ready to cook and serve for those really loooong days!

You can check out their website here.




As Kayla is getting more and more aware of her allergies and gaining a deeper understanding, it is only natural that the subject is being discussed more regularly (everything she sees on the ground she assumes it is dairy now). So Alysa is hearing about this dairy allergy “thing” more and more. I have tried to talk about it more with her so she can be aware of Kayla’s allergy and one day contribute to her Big Sister’s safety. But I have found it quite adorable and amusing to see her as she is trying to understand it. Multiple times a day, now I hear from her, “I need to have some dairy, so I can feel sick.” or, “Kayla needs dairy, so it can make her be sick.” I can almost SEE the wheels turning in her little head as she tries to make sense of this completely abstract concept. It is giving me some good excuses to try to explain it all to her – you know, that we DO NOT want Kayla to get sick. ;)

Today, she was at the food store with me while Kayla was in school and we passed a woman with a half gallon of milk (the container had black spots like a cow). Alysa pointed to it and yelled out, “That’s cow’s milk!”.




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Speaking of FAAN, I will be taking place in their Walk for Food Allergies fund raiser in August Registration has not yet begun, so I will post more on this as I get more information.


posted at 1:07 PM  
  3 comments



Thursday, April 03, 2008
Ohio Pictures
Here is a sampling of the fun they all had together!



posted at 11:03 AM  
  4 comments



Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Cheese-less Danish
For Easter breakfast my Mom made her famous "cheese" danish, but substituted the cream cheese with Tofutti’s Better than Cream Cheese. It really was delicious and I am considering making it to bring to my next support group meeting.

Here is the recipe:
2 packages Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
2 8oz tubs of Tofutti’s Better than Cream Cheese
3/4 Cups Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Lemon Juice
1 Egg Yolk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 1/2 x 11 pan. Lay out 1 package of the crescent rolls without separating them. Mix together the "cream cheese", sugar, vanilla & lemon juice. Spread the "cream cheese" mixture on the crescent rolls. Lay the second package of crescent rolls on top; pressing the edges and ridges until closed. Spread the top with the egg yolk. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until brown. Watch carefully.

Icing:
1 1/2 Cups Confectioner's Sugar
3/4 tsp Vanilla
Soy or Rice Milk to desired consistency (adding by tablespoon) [we used plain soy milk]

Mix ingredients together. Drizzle on top of pastry. Chill before cutting and serving.


posted at 5:42 PM  
  3 comments



Tuesday, April 01, 2008
I'm Back
After a 5 day trip to Ohio, I’m working on getting unpacked and back to normal. We had a great trip, but it’s good to be home. Of course, what would the trip be w/o one sick child? Kayla got yet another stomach virus while we were out there. Thankfully it was mild and short-lived AND no one else got it. But she missed out on some fun with her cousins which she was not very happy about. I’m pretty exhausted as I slept with Alysa. The night after Kayla was sick, I slept with both of them. Let’s just say I was up pretty much all night.

My Sister was great and aside from Zach (11 months) having dairy twice, everyone was dairy-free. It’s a huge stress staying with someone else with dairy all over the house, but having meals and snacks dairy-free really helps to ease the pressure. It’s also good for Kayla as she asks whenever we go somewhere – “Will there be dairy there?” It’s really very cute.

Traveling went pretty well. For some reason the DVD player would not stop skipping – but when it skips it shuts off and turns back on – so it was useless. The girls were troopers on the way out and on the way back. Although coming was a bit harder since the girls were exhausted. Alysa actually took a 1.5 hour nap on the way home and woke up happy as can be. Kayla, on the other hand, melted down before finally falling asleep towards the end of the trip. She woke up 15 minutes from home and sobbed the entire way.

Alysa and Elliot – only 3 weeks apart in age were adorable. It’s so cute to see them together. The similarities and differences.

While there, I got to have lunch with Chris and her real-life friend Thea. It was great to meet her and I enjoyed my lunch breakfast immensely. Saturday night I was able to go to the Opera my brother-in-law directed. Afterwards, we went out for dessert – yum!

The night after the morning Kayla was sick – she slept down in the basement with Alysa and me. The intent was for her to sleep on her child-size air mattress while Alysa slept on the pull out couch with me (full size). The two of them kept getting up to play in the playroom portion of the basement. Finally, I warned them that if they got out of bed again, I would shut the playroom light off (Alysa had wanted it on b/c initially she was scared being down there). I had to go down again when I heard the toy cash register. As soon as they saw me (yes, photos were taken), Alysa said, “You’re going to shut the light off. We in the playroom.”. Finally, I had to go to sleep while they were still awake – it was pushing 10:00. That’s when I found out Kayla decide she was sleeping in the bed with Alysa and I could sleep on the air mattress. So the 3 of us slept together.

Saturday, when we went for dessert my Dad watched the kids – yes, ALL-SIX-OF-THEM! My two were in bed and so were Zach and Elliot. When I asked him, he said Alysa (who slept in the basement with me) gave him any “trouble”. He said he never heard a peep out of her. The next morning I found out why. She HAD gotten out of bed and gotten into the markers. Her index fingers on both hands were completely purple. It was on her face too. Pretty cute actually, but I didn’t tell her that.

The girls are glad to be home and J is happy to have us back. Now I just have to figure out how to get caught up. But I did get some of my auctions up on eBay finally. I’ll be finishing that up tonight and tomorrow. I’ll post some links when I’m done. I have 3-6m, 6-9m, 6-12m, 12-18m and 18-24m.

I also have some food allergy items to post and will come back to post a slide show when I get all the pics uploaded and sorted.


posted at 1:34 PM  
  4 comments



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