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

Friday, January 30, 2009
Is it any wonder...
...that Alysa got ooh's and aaah's everywhere we went today?

That is the smile she sported all over town today and is the one she is famous for at Kayla's school. They are under the impression there that she always smiles. They get to learn first hand whether it's true or not come September.

And this morning, I made her oatmeal and granola. She started eating it in Florida when my Dad would make his in the morning. She got so excited this morning and danced around the kitchen saying "I'm having oatmeal just like Gramps!"

posted at 5:13 PM  

Thursday, January 29, 2009
Missing them already
The girls finally got to see Emma last Saturday for the first time since we returned from Disney. It took so "long" due to all the sickies that were running rampant through our home last week.

It was so cute, yet also heartbreaking to see how much they missed each other after a 2 week absence. Whatever will they do when forever comes...?




After Emma left, Kayla and I had the following conversation...

Me - "Did you miss Emma?"
Kayla - "Yes. And I will miss her when she's in California."
Me - "I know you will honey."
Kayla - "Daddy needs to take me to California."

*sigh* If my heart is breaking for her already, I can't imagine what moving day will be like.

posted at 8:00 AM  

Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Disney Day 3
First let me vent a bit. Kayla is sick, again… It’s just a little fever – one of her 24 hour ones I’m sure and it’s staying low at 100.5 being her highest. I haven’t even had to medicate her today and she got to play out in the snow. But, it’s frustrating to be keeping her from school AGAIN! She’s missed a lot lately between our trip and her being sick. Not that I can change it, but it’s aggravating nonetheless.

So anyway, back to our Disney extravaganza!

Wednesday, was not only fun in Disney world, but it was also my Dad’s 60th birthday. It was a lot of fun to be able to celebrate his big day in Disney World where everyone gets to be a kid.

In the morning, we headed to Downtown Disney where the girls were going to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for some beauty pampering while the boys played in the Lego store next door. We brought dresses with us for the girls to wear, so they were fully dressed to go along with their hair, make up and nails. During, Maddy could not have been happier. Her huge grin did not leave her face the entire time. Kayla only wanted to look like Sleeping Beauty. When the women showed her the hair options, she said, “I want to look like SB”. They tried explaining there were only a few “options”. Finally I told them to pick one and tell her it is SB and she’ll be good to go. That’s what they did (please remember Sleeping Beauty has long hair, which Kayla does not) and Kayla was thrilled with that. Alysa did well considering being only 3 and chose the same hairdo as Kayla. She was a bit fearful at first, but settled in well. But about half way through she was over it and they couldn’t have gotten done fast enough. But after, all 3 loved how they looked and I have to say they were too cute. Their “Fairy Godmothers” did a wonderful job making them look so pretty with subtle make-up in light pastel colors. They were done up like cute little girls and not like mini adult ‘you-know-whats’. It was really cute as well to see all the people stopping to look at them. They got so much attention and I can’t say I’m surprised. We have some cute girls in our family. I could not stop laughing over Kayla and Alysa with their hair extensions. It was quite the site.

After the boutique, we headed back to Magic Kingdom for the afternoon. That evening, we had a birthday dinner for my Dad. After, when the kids were in bed, my Sister and I headed back to Downtown Disney to do some girly shopping while the boys (including Colin) went to Disney Quest for the evening. It is an interactive virtual reality game place – a lot of fun in there. After, we met up at T-Rex for some appetizers and dessert. Not only was the food delicious, but it was a fun restaurant with roaring dinosaurs surrounding us while we ate. YUM!

posted at 2:43 PM  

Sunday, January 25, 2009
Disney Day 2
Our second day of Disney brought our first Disney meal. We had an early morning breakfast booked with the Princesses in Cinderella’s Castle. Because we had 14 people, we had two tables, so my Sis and her family ate at one with all the dairy they wanted. We, along with my parents ate a dairy-free table. When I arrived, they already had it marked in the computer that we were dairy-free. The chef came out to talk to us and go over the alternatives to their menu. We were able to eat fresh fruit, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs and dairy-free-gluten-free waffles and soy and rice milk. He also surprised us and brought out some dairy-free muffins. The waffles left a lot to be desired since they were lacking wheat, but the rest was delicious! They even brought us a brandy new stick of Fleischman’s Unsalted Margarine to be used on our waffles. I was very concerned about this meal because of the princess being around the other meals since Kayla is contact-reactive. But each princess was very gracious and accommodating when I explained our situation and kindly asked them to wash their hands (as I handed them each a wipe). The meal went off without a hitch and the girls enjoyed their food as did the rest of us. Kayla was in her glory meeting the princesses and it was a complete success.

After breakfast, we posed for some photo ops outside the castle before piling on the monorail headed for Epcot. We were able to do a couple things at Epcot before Kayla came down with the fever that hit Alysa the day before. The one they absolutely loved was Figment. The kids also found the sprinklers a ton of fun. J ended up taking Kayla back to the apartment because she just wanted to go to bed. My Sister, my Mom and I took Colin and Alysa on Nemo’s ride and got to watch a diver demonstration and check out a bunch of fish. Alysa had a bit of a crush on the diver, which was pretty cute. It poured that afternoon which stunk, but luckily it wasn’t until close to the end of the day. I did “take advantage” of Kayla being away and treated Alysa to a soft pretzel and some real ice cream. She was in heaven and so was Colin.

posted at 7:55 PM  

Friday, January 23, 2009
Some good news for the soy & dairy allergic

I saw over at Go Dairy Free that Turtle Mountain beloved makers of soy based and coconut milk based yogurts and ice creams are rolling out a new coconut milk beverage. The drink is soy and dairy free. I could not find it on their site yet, so will, for now remain curious as to the fat and protein (and vitamin/mineral) content of the drink. But it rolls out to Whole Foods on the East Coast in March of this year. I'm even wondering if this could possibly mean I can switch Alysa to this with the added rice protein powder rather than the instead of the rice milk and coconut milk. It could save us a few pennies and some aggravation.

posted at 12:13 PM  

Thursday, January 22, 2009
Disney Day 1

We left for Disney bright and early on Saturday morning, January 10th. We decided to drive to cut down on expense since we would have had to rent a car in Florida anyway. Plus it was easier to bring all our food rather than to try to shop down there. If I had to shop there, it would have mean endless phone calls to local grocery stores and calls to manufacturers once we were down there. We traded our timeshare for the trip, so we had a full kitchen. We were able to have breakfast and dinners in the apartment and pack our lunches for the parks.

We arrived at our “mid-way” hotel in Georgia in approximately 12 hours. The girls are used to 9-10 hour drives to and from my Sister’s, but the last hour or so of this drive was tough on them. Add to their frustration the fact that we were only in Georgia and not at Disney World yet. They were happy to be out of the car, but were pretty wound up, so we had to split them up in bed and we each got to sleep with one of them. Sunday we arrived at the resort in the early afternoon. So we had plenty of time to unpack and settle in.

Monday we hit the Magic Kingdom for the day. J and I took the girls and Maddy to visit the Princesses, Fairies and Mickey. They loved every minute of it. The girls had been so excited to see the princesses and they were not disappointed. Nothing beats watching your children meet their favorite people face to face. Unfortunately, Alysa ended up with a fever mid-day and slept on Jerome while we waited for the Princesses. She did perk up as soon as she saw them, but once we were done visiting, she was done. I had Motrin with me in Florida, but not in the park. My Mom was having back pain, so she went back to the room in the afternoon and took Alysa with her. She napped, while we took Kayla on rides. We stayed that night for the light show parade and the fireworks. Kayla, who is sensitive to loud noises wasn’t too thrilled with the fireworks but didn’t want to leave either. She’s a trooper.

We didn’t eat at the park on Monday, we had breakfast in our apartment, packed lunch and my Sister brought dinner back to those of us that had not taken a break to go home in the afternoon. I will have more on meals there tomorrow since Tuesday was our breakfast with the Princesses. But I will say we had a reaction-free trip. And regardless of meals that was no small accomplishment. People had told me there is ice cream everywhere. Which there is, but when it’s in the upper 50’s in Florida and so many people are bundled in hats and gloves, there aren’t many eating ice cream. Our biggest obstacle was the popcorn and boy was it everywhere. Wipes were our friend – the stroller, rides, etc. I even had some “cast members” ask if there was a problem when they saw me wiping down the rides before I let Kayla get on. They, of course were wonderful when I explained the situation. The popcorn was evil to me on two fronts. The first is for the obvious – it’s a big danger to Kayla and it is dropped EVERYWHERE (does anyone know how to put food in their mouth and not on the ground?)! But the second was my insane craving. All I wanted was to chow down on a container of popcorn, which of course I never got a chance to do. So I left for home with a craving that just won’t go away…

But the most important thing was that she had no reactions – it was a huge relief to me and for that alone, I consider the trip a major success!

Here are some of the highlights from our 1st day.

Here is our 15 passenger van filled from bottom to top...

posted at 1:02 PM  

Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I'm working on it, really I am...
...but my house is a disaster and Kayla got hit with a stomach bug (thanks Disney World) and J and I have gotten it (thankfully very mild). I just finished sorting through the pictures and I've started writing about our trip. I haven't even begun to read up on anyone yet. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.

So while you anxiously await the details about my trip, I will leave you with this...

When Alysa grows up she wants to "Drive a monorail and wear a bra."

posted at 6:45 PM  

Monday, January 19, 2009
We're back...
Yup, we snuck off to Disney last week. I hope no one missed me too much. We drove there and back and drove straight through yesterday arriving home at 11:30pm last night. I never made it into work today with the hopes of resting and unpacking some. But considering I got a fever today (the girls both had a day of fever early in the week), nothing got done except all 4 of us napped.

I have a ton to report and a million pictures to sort through. So I will be posting about our wonderful trip over the next week.

I hope everyone had a great week and I am also looking forward to catching up with all my friends in blog-land.

posted at 5:49 PM  

Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Losing my best friend
Have you ever met someone that you just clicked with almost perfectly? And not just you, but your whole family? A family where your kids are best friends, your husbands get along great and the Moms too? It's something not easy to find, especially when one child has a food allergy. Food allergies make it harder to make friends. It's harder to open up to people and approach them about get togethers. Get togethers are harder because when you go to their house, you have to quiz them on their eating and cleaning habits. You have to ask to bring snacks with you for all the kids and hope they will be open to it and not shut down. But every so often you meet people that make all of that so easy. For us, that couple was Jen and Jeff. Their daughter Emma joined Kayla's gymnastics class last spring. They had class together all summer but it was not until the end of August that I saw how much those girls adored each other. So...I broke down and asked Jen if she would be interested in getting them together. She jumped at it and asked right away if Kayla would come to her party. Instant anxiety gripped me because the one thing worse than a new play date is a birthday party. But Jen already knew about Kayla's allergy and asked me, "What can we do so Kayla can come?" And the kicker is, she meant it. They were having fajitas, with shredded cheese. Jeff is a hobby chef and was very aware of the ingredients. He asked for the dairy list and went over everything with me. And when the party came, they left off the cheese completely. The party was dairy-free. This was a first for me and it truly overwhelmed me. The only dairy was the cake. It was such a relaxing party for us - the first - and it was wonderful. Jerome and I were able to eat at the same time instead of in shifts. They are the first people we've trusted to cook for Kayla. We've let them bring food here when they joined us for Thanksgiving and Christmas - for those that know me, you know this is a major deal for us. But Jeff also tolerates, graciously too I might add, all my questions and reminders about ingredients and cross-contamination. We've gone out to eat with them and they voluntarily ordered dairy-free to make things easier on us. They are willing to learn to use the epi pen in case there ever comes a time they are alone or could be alone with Kayla. Jeff offered to take off of work the day of Alysa's surgery so they could watch Kayla so both Jerome and I could be with Alysa (Jen does not drive). Jen has even told me she doesn't understand why anyone would not do what needed to be done to keep Kayla safe. She even went so far as to say it's "not an inconvenience". Not sure even I would say there's nothing inconvenient about it, but I appreciated her sentiment and the thing is, she was being honest.

They adore my girls and vice versa. We see each other 2-3 times every week and they joined us for the holidays this year (their family is in Texas).

I've known since I met them that they will be moving this coming summer. Jeff is in the Coast Guard and their 4 years here is coming to an end. But Jeff's two first choices were in New Jersey - so the hope was they would not be going far. This past week the word came down that they are moving to California. When she told me I was crushed - devastated really. As an adult making friends is not easy and making friends like them is even harder. I'm used to having close friends spread out. I have so many after making "Infertility friends". But these are the first we've made locally and then "lost" to distance.

I know this will be so hard on Kayla and Alysa. They won't understand and with their move happening a month before Kayla's birthday party, that will only add to her sadness. I know I will field all sorts of questions as to why Emma can't be there. But truth be told, my devastation is not just about the pain it will cause to Kayla. I will miss them dearly - it will be very hard on me.

One bright spot may be that they are moving an hour and a half from the friends we stayed with in San Jose. So...in the four years they will be in California, I am hoping we can save the small fortune it would take and maybe, just maybe get out their to visit all of them.

posted at 8:00 AM  

Sunday, January 11, 2009
Our weeks in pictures
Since I haven't had as much time to be on here like I've wanted to recently, I thought I'd bring you some pictures of what we've been up to.

They got to experience a fireplace for the first time this winter at my parent's house.

They get really tired playing with Emma - this is on the way home from her house...

We took them to build robots at the mall and they loved it. The robots are actually pretty cool (note both robots correspond with their favorite colors). They also had fun trying on shoes at Nordstroms.

And Alysa thought she was pulling one over on me by "hiding" behind the chair to sneak her Leapster.

For New Years, our friends came over. Kayla and Emma were supposed to go to sleep together...which never happened. So both of them, at the ripe old age of 4 got to see their first ball drop.

At first Emma wanted to sleep in her sleeping bag - they eventually moved to Kayla's bed, but that was where bedtime ended...

Getting ready for the ball to come down...

Me & J...

Jen & Jeff...

Here they are playing Super Mario Kart on the Wii.

And Alysa getting into trouble using my shelf as a "bunk bed" and sneaking off with an ice cream cone from the pantry. Thankfully she can't reach the ice cream.

posted at 8:00 AM  

Friday, January 09, 2009
Amazing wonders
Today, friends of ours came over and we got some PF Chang's take-out. The only meat Alysa will readily eat are their Northern Style Spare Ribs (Kayla loves these too). So I got those and some Crispy Honey Chicken. At lunch, Kayla actually tried the chicken and ate a few bites. Tonight at dinner (I love left-overs), the girls had their ribs and Kayla devoured quite a bit of my chicken. I nearly fell out of my seat when Alysa asked to try a bite. Not only did she ask to try a bite, but she ate 3 bites of chicken (this is really a lot for her - especially where meat is concerned). All so she could use their kid's chop sticks. I've got to save those chop sticks for every meal. Happy days! So she actually got some meat in her tonight. Woohoo!!!!!!!!!!!

Back to the craziness...I can't wait to have more time on my hands...

posted at 5:56 PM  

Monday, January 05, 2009
Gotta love bartering
There are lots of things I want, most of which I won’t be getting anytime soon because they’re just not in our budget. A Nintendo Wii system was one of them. I was first introduced to the Wii a year ago and thought it was so much fun. I had told J that if we were in the market for a video game system, that is one I could see myself actually getting a lot of use out of. Most recently, friends of ours, Jen and Jeff have one, so we’ve been able to play it with them. But still, it was not something we were looking to buy, so it was on that list of items I’d love to have but would not be getting.

Until…Jen and Jeff were given a Wii by Jeff’s parents for Christmas. So now they had two and it was past the time of returning it to the store. Jen has been wanting to buy a large Longaberger basket for Emma’s toys. She’s admired some of my large ones for a while now. I have two in particular that I purchased (when I was still purchasing basket frequently) when I was pregnant with Kayla for her toys. As much as I love my baskets, I didn’t really have use for 2 such large baskets. With larger toys and toys with small pieces, toy baskets are just not as useful for us.

When Jen first mentioned a trade – the basket for the Wii, I kind of cringed internally. How can I part with my basket? But the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became. In the end, we made the deal. Today is J’s birthday, so I knew the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I had been struggling with what to get him. He’s very easy to shop for, but the things popping into my head were over our budget – especially with our Disney trip so close.

So Friday, I went shopping for a couple of games and an extra controller. I was able to give him an awesome gift and remain within my budget. He was totally surprised and the girls – well, Kayla has already mastered bowling.

What I like best about the Wii is that there are completely kid-friendly games that will also keep them active. I got J some racing games – because, well, he loves cars. But the bowling and tennis and other sports games are where I’ll be spending my Wii time (since I’m not your typical video game-type person). Of course, we’ll limit the girls’ time with the Wii, but on really cold days over the winter, it will be nice to have a tool to get them up and moving around.

I’m very excited about our new toy and getting to give J an awesome gift. Happy Birthday hon!

posted at 12:27 PM  

Saturday, January 03, 2009
Is it 2009 already?
Seriously - where is the time going? I know it's only Jan 3rd, but I feel like I'm in such a fog with all I've done and am still doing. November and December was a blur with trips, Thanksgiving, Alysa's birthday and party, Christmas and New Year's. I feel like I'm in perpetual party planning mode. The last will be tomorrow when I have J's birthday dinner. Thankfully it will be low key, but part of me can't wait until it's over. I have so much to organize and get together right now, I'm pretty overwhelmed. And the kids...have forgotten to be good for Santa. I have a whole year until I can use Santa again? Geez. They are fighting, fighting, fighting. Part of it, I believe is Alysa getting worse with her exhaustion. It's seriously out of control. March 4th can not get here soon enough.

At least I can say that the house is back to normal. The tree and other decorations are down for the most part and all new toys have a home.

What I dread the most at this point is Monday. Kayla has been off from school for 2 weeks and I know she will have a hard time being woken up Monday at 7:15 am. She's been enjoying sleeping until 8:30/9am. The past few days she's come into bed with me at 7:30 only to go back to sleep with me until 9. I guess I'll be thankful that Monday, I'll be leaving for work when J is getting her up for school. Happy Birthday to him!

I will try to not be completely MIA the next couple of weeks, but it will be pretty hectic around here. And from the looks of the rest of blog-land, I can see I'm not the only one who's busy. Good to know I'm not alone.

I hope everyone had a fun New Year's!

posted at 5:23 PM  


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My Daughters' Site
No Whey Mama
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Parenting a Child with Food Allergies
Parenting Solved
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