Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking Back on 2010

The 31st of December, I can't believe it's here already. Or 2011 for that matter! I remember when I was a kid in the early 80's, watching those futuristic type tv shows about what the 2000's would be like. My thought was always, 2000 is SO far away, it'll never get here! And here we are, 11 years in. Crazy!

I try to be a more positive type of person, I really feel that your attitude has a lot to do with the outcome of things. But man, was 2010 pretty rough for us. No, we didn't face unemployment like a lot of people did - we had a steady home over our heads, food to eat, and for most of our family, good health. But I will still look at 2010 as being a very stressful year.

March: Luke's first anaphylactic reaction. I watched a video recently where parents talk about having kids with severe food allergies, and one mom mentioned that the sound of your child struggling to breathe when their airways close during an ana reaction continues to haunt you. Luke never really struggled to breathe, as far as I could tell - but the sight of him losing consciousness twice, his lips turning blue and his skin losing all color, him covered from his chin to his toes in angry red hives, and his head flopping around from being lethargic (among his other reactions) still continues to haunt me. I can still see him laying on the hospital bed in the ER, staring at me and crying, his eyes begging me to help him. I can still hear the nurses whispering to each other about how low his blood pressure and oxygen levels were. It's as if it just happened, and I imagine it will be something to haunt me for a very long time. A week later we learned that Luke had pneumonia (2nd time since November 2009), and we eventually learned it was probably related to him aspirating during his food reaction.

From that point on we began our journey as a food allergy family. The stress of testing for his allergies, trying to find the right doctor, worrying about what he was eating or what others were eating around him. Always being worried that I would forget the Epi-Pens, and that be the day that we needed them.

April Came home on Easter, after being gone all weekend, to find that the faucet in our downstairs bathroom had burst off, and our basement was completely flooded.

May: Trip to the beach! The only real worry I had was that we ate out pretty much every night (my Thermos Foogo Leak-Proof Stainless Steel Food Jar, Blue, 10-Ounce came in handy bringing Luke's food to the restaurant with us).

June: Second ana reaction, after eating a burger with mayo (he reacted to the egg in the mayo). We were driving out of town and didn't realize it was a reaction, and didn't give him an epi. I later learned we should have, and I deal with the guilt of failing him that night.

July: I had to edit to add this-I guess with so much going on, something was bound to be left out! In July Luke had an endoscopy to test for EE. It came back negative thankfully, but the scope itself wasn't much fun.

August Luke caught a cold, and it quickly turned to pneumonia. Luke also saw his orthopedist for a follow up, and we were sent home with corrective shoes for him. The positional clubfeet he was born with was being stubborn about going away completely, and he needed the shoes until November.

The last week of August Luke got sick again, and again it turned to pneumonia. This time it was bad though, really bad - his pediatrician had use go to another hospital north of us after seeing his xrays, because they are known for their children's ER. Thankfully my friend is an ER nurse there, and offered to come with me. We spent several hours there, going through blood work, an hour long nebulizer treatment, etc.

I left there with an appointment for Luke to see a pulmonologist. Probably the best thing that had happened to us medically. We saw the pulmo about a week later, and they diagnosed him with asthma, and put him on a twice a day inhaler. That pulmo appointment led us to switching to an allergist in the same office. Again, best decision.

September Trip to South Carolina, sans my husband, for my grandpa's 80th birthday. My only minor panic attack happened when a bowl of nuts was put on the buffet table at the party - thankfully I had food for Luke. We spent the rest of the week at the same beach as earlier in the summer, the boys had a blast.

Then Cody started school - and I cried =) Just for a few minutes, in the parking lot when we left him. I was so proud of him. He didn't get upset at all, he was so excited to be there. But it made me a little sad that my baby was so big already.

In late September Luke had pneumonia again. By his 3rd round of pneumonia I had gotten good at being able to look at him, and listen, and know. I know more about pneumonia and the symptoms of it than I would like to! His doctor sent us straight to the same ER. Oh, and of course this time my husband was out of town. I was not a happy camper. They treated him and released us. Pretty much a repeat of the last experience.

His allergist, who is also an immunologist, started testing him for immune deficiencies. The initial results came back very low - I was given information about lifelong deficiencies, treatments for it, etc. It was extremely overwhelming.

November Luke caught a cold (we all did), and had a fever, but no pneumonia! It was very exciting, as it meant his body was working at fighting it off. We also had a successful trip to the orthopedist, as we learned that his feet were perfect, and unless I noticed anything funny, we were done! We also met with our county's early intervention in November, about Luke's lack of speech, and she decided that he was definitely eligible for further evaluation.

December We have all been sick again, and once again, no pneumonia. We also got the results back from his latest immunology testing, and the numbers were right where they should be. Excellent news! His immunologist considers his immune case to be closed, whoohoo!

We also met with the early intervention evaluation team this month, and they determined him to be 25% delayed in expressive speech (he's at a 13-14 month range), and 25% delayed in fine motor skills (at 18 months). We should be starting therapy (speech 2x a month, and physical every other month) in January.

So here we are now, on the last day of the year. We have managed to finish with two areas of specialty - orthopedist and immunologist. Hopefully over the next couple of years I'll be able to say that we're also done with the allergist and pulmonologist.

I pray that 2011 will bring us a much healthier year. I pray that my little guy never has to experience pneumonia again. I pray that my bigger little guy will continue to flourish as well has he always has. And I pray that the Redskins will be less embarrassing in the 2011 season =)

Happy New Year!



Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Tee for the Little Man

I've been more crafty over the last 2 days, than I have been the entire time between Halloween and now! But I've been really enjoying it, staying home with my boys and getting some fun craftiness done.

Today at Michael's I found a nifty little cookie cutter set - literally little, they're miniature Christmas themed cutters. It was a cube of about 6 cutters, for $.49, score! What caught my attention was the mitten cutter, it was just too cute.

When the boys went down for their naps, I looked over the cutters, and decided that the mitten one would make a cute tshirt for the little man. I found a plain navy blue long sleeve teeshirt, and some Christmas-y colored scraps.

I traced the mitten onto paper, then used that as a template for the fabric. Ironed the mitten fabric onto some Heat n Bond, and then ironed onto the shirt (which is when I realized they were both right hand mittens, oops!). It was cute, but the mittens kind of looked like Christmas-y goldfish with lumps on them. Some matching Merry Christmas ribbon (also found at Michael's, 60% off) did the trick =)

Little man is sleeping, so his bear was nice enough to model the shirt for me...


Linking up to....



Whatever Goes Wednesday

Monday, December 20, 2010

Silhouette Stocking Holders

A couple months ago I decided that I wanted to try and make a silhouette of my boys. Cody was easy, as he's old enough to follow directions. Luke, not so much. Thankfully my husband eventually got home and helped me out - but instead of going for the serious look, Luke thought standing at the wall staring at dad was hilarious, so his profile is one of him laughing =)



I turned the pictures into black and white on my computer, and then darkened them more to make the details easier to see. I printed the pictures, and placed them on black cardstock, then used an xacto knife to trace around the outline.

Once that was done, I spread Matte Mod Podge on a standard size white tile (can be purchased at Lowe's for anywhere for around $.20 per tile), and placed the silhouettes on top. Covered them with another thin layer of Mod Podge, and allowed it to dry, keeping an eye out for any bubbling in the paper.

From there I used my hot glue gun to glue the tiles to photo stocking holders that I found at Joann for $7 each (70% off sale, they were moving Christmas stuff for Valentines, a week before Christmas!).

Once they dried, I had this!




Luke's came out a little crooked, and him laughing makes it look like he's getting ready to eat someone, so I'll probably re-do his next year when he's old enough to understand the stand against the wall for a mug shot thing =)


Making

Shrimp = Success! And Christmas Planning {possible previous reaction?}

We finally got around to having Luke try shrimp. I wanted the conditions to be right - my husband HAD to be home. There was no way I was going to give Luke the last of the top 8 most common food allergens without my husband being around. And I really wanted to do it when we were with other people, just in case a trip to the ER was necessary, so there would be someone to watch Cody. Kind of sad that you have to plan so much for a kid to try a new food, huh? So last night we had dinner at my parents' house, and my mom steamed a few shrimp. Luke has become really picky, mostly with baked goods and sweets though, and I was afraid he wouldn't eat it. So I chopped a shrimp up, and put it on the plate with the other food he was eating. He gobbled it up, with no issues whatsoever! This is a huge relief, especially since our family is around shellfish a lot.

Christmas Eve we will spend at my mom's sister's house, something we do every year. Last year we didn't know about Luke's allergies. He was almost 14 months old, and was a month past his first experience with pneumonia. That night, Luke vomited a lot towards the end of the evening. It was really hot in their house, from the wood stove burning, and we attributed the vomiting to that, thinking he was just overheated. Looking back now though, the vomiting is very similar to what we now know of as a sign of a food reaction. We weren't super careful about what he ate that night, so I honestly have no idea what all he did eat. There were various cookies and candies within his reach, and the food was catered. It's a beautiful chaos every year at Christmas Eve with the family, so anyone could have given him anything without me knowing. I do feel strongly that it was probably his first adverse food reaction.

This year, my aunt won't be putting any kind of nut products out. Not only for the risk of him eating one, but for the cross contamination risk. Someone eating nuts, then using their hand to touch food that would otherwise be safe for Luke is pretty scary. I've also asked her to keep any cookies or candies that don't contain nuts out of his reach - again, cross contamination risks, plus his egg allergy.

I'm a little nervous, mostly just because it's scary taking your food allergic kid to anyone else's house where food that you have very little control over is going to be served. But I know that my family will do what it takes to be careful, and I know that as long as I'm diligent, everything will be fine.


Monday, November 29, 2010

In Office Food Challenge {Sesame}

Today we did an IOFC for sesame. We had to be there at 8:40, which probably doesn't sound too bad, except driving from where we live, to where the doctor's office is, isn't the easiest thing during rush hour =) But we made it in time (barely), and even scored a front row parking spot. I took that as a good sign!

For the challenge, I brought in a package of Stella D'Oro sesame breadsticks - I chose that brand because they labeled for sesame on their packages, so I took it as a good sign that they were on top of labeling, since sesame isn't a requirement. The challenge started with them taking Luke's blood pressure, and then bringing in 2 sesame seeds. Getting him to eat the seeds was a bit of an issue, but nothing that a few sips of water didn't take care of.

After 15 minutes they came in and looked for any sign of hives, took his blood pressure again, and then moved on to 1/16th of the bread stick. The entire challenge went like that - a slightly bigger serving of the breadstick, followed by 15 minutes of waiting, then observing and taking his blood pressure before being given the next bigger serving.

At one point I found a few small red bumps on his lower back -the allergist decided that they weren't hives. Other than that, there weren't any questions- he passed the challenge!

This is great news for us - no more worrying about sesame. Sesame is HARD. Sesame isn't one of the top 8 allergens, so food companies aren't required to label for it, or even include it in the ingredient listing. If you see an ingredients listing and it says "spices", sesame could be lumped into that.

I will say though, that there is a slight downside to it. When his anaphylactic reaction happened after eating at Burger King, I immediately suspected the sesame seeds on the buns. And I did this because a couple weeks earlier, he had eaten a cracker that had sesame seeds on it, and he had gotten a few hives around his mouth. So when we saw the allergist after the BK debacle, he did a skin test for sesame and it came back positive. So even after our current allergist determined that he has a major egg allergy, I held onto some hope that the reaction at BK was a combo of egg+sesame making things worse.

When that reaction happened, he had eaten a tiny amount of the cheeseburger (just picture a Burger King Jr Whopper, and imagine how much mayo is on there- then imagine how big the bites would be from a tiny 18 month old -not very big, so not a whole lot of mayo consumption there). With sesame out of the picture as being a possible issue that day, it shows how serious his egg allergy is. And that, of course, scares me. There's a pattern there between the egg reaction, and the peanut reaction - two tiny bites, very little consumption, and a severe reaction.

Also, another point here- this is a good example of how the only true food allergy test is what happens when you EAT the food item. Skin prick tests (SPTs) can be wrong. I'm thankful that his current doctor knew enough to do a challenge, so that we wouldn't have to go through unnecessary avoidance/stress.

Next up - She wants us to give him shrimp. His blood test was negative for shrimp and crab, but I'm still a bit nervous. We'll be trying it this coming weekend though. Fingers crossed that it goes well!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Orthopedic Visit {happiness!}

Today was a great day- Luke had an afternoon appointment with his orthopedist in Richmond, so I decided to make a day of it. We headed out early this morning,and spent a couple of hours at the newest Children's Museum of Richmond branch in Short Pump. The boys loved it. It's smaller than the original location, and seems to be a bit more for the younger kids (I would say 2-4 is a good age range), but we all had a good time. From there we grabbed a quick lunch, then we were off to the ortho's office.

This is where the day got really good- Luke's feet are "perfect" according to the doctor! I knew that they were looking much better, but hearing him say that was just such a wonderful thing. He said unless I notice something not right with his feet, Luke is done with the ortho visits. That made for one happy mama =)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nut and Egg Free Mickey Mouse Birthday Party

We did it, we made it through celebration #2 - Luke's 2nd birthday party! Everyone had a great time, and I'd really like to share the details of the party, from the decorations to the nut and egg free food.

Luke LOVES Mickey Mouse - give him a book with the Clubhouse friends on it, and he'll be entertained for quite awhile. He loves to point at the different characters, and ask me "who's that?". So going with a Mickey Mouse theme was an easy decision (although many times I was tempted to change after finding one cute idea after another for different themes!).


Invitations

As I posted about awhile back, I found a template for making Mickey Mouse shaped invitations at My Party File. I used red and black cardstock to make the invitations, and printed the wording from a Word document.





Decorations

I took a lot of ideas from various blogs and webpages to come up with the decorations for Luke's party.

I made a banner showing a picture of Luke from each month over the last year. I found the idea at Annie's Eats. She had a Dr. Seuss party for her son's 2nd birthday, and yes, it was one of the "maybe I should go with this theme!" pages for me =) Only problem is, when I made the banner, I did everything backwards. Oh well, it was still cute!


I made another banner from the Playhouse Disney Celebration Center with Luke's name.



Food

I just realized that I didn't take any pictures of the buffet, ergh!  Oh well, just imagine how yummy it was =)

On the menu were hot ham and cheese sliders, the recipe came from Annie's Eats. Super YUM-O! I used Martin's Potato Bread slider buns, and they were nut/egg free. Omitted the mayo from the recipe to make it safe.

We also had Sausage and Cheese Balls using safe ingredients, Hebrew National mini pigs in a blanket (found in the frozen section in a big party size box, kids love them!), chips, Trader Joe's Pretzel Slims and a veggie platter.

Cupcakes, Ice Cream Pie {and more decorations}

I made Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, another Annie's Eats recipe. I substituted the 2 eggs that the recipe called for with 2 servings of Ener-G Egg Replacer. I have to say that I was very pleased with how well they turned out. I've never made the recipe using regular eggs, but I can't imagine they could be any better. For the frosting I made an additional 50% more frosting (as she recommends), and I was still slightly short - I must like to pile the frosting on! I reduced the powdered sugar a little - in our trial run two weeks ago, Cody said it was too sweet (and I agreed). Reducing it some made it perfect.

Normally we get an ice cream cake for birthday parties, to go along with the regular cake.  I looked everywhere for something that didn't have a nut allergy warning on it.  I've been told that Friendly's Ice Cream Cakes are safe, but the closest Friendly's shop is a good 45 minute drive, and I just wasn't going for that.  I thought about making my own, but I had enough to take care of.  That's when I got the idea of looking to see what Trader Joe's had in their frozen section.  I trust Trader Joe's labeling, and his allergist agrees with that.  I lucked out and found a frozen Mud Pie without any nut/egg allergy warning on it!  It was deeeeelicious!

The cupcake toppers came from Shay Bock's Mickey Mouse Party. She offers free Mickey Mouse birthday printables that can be customized. I don't have the right programs on my computer, so I printed out what I could, and made my own customized ones (the Luke toppers). I was happy with how they turned out.


Luke checking out his cake

Going by this picture, I think Luke enjoyed his party!




Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Customer Service - Swans Down Cake Flour

I love it when a company takes the time to respond to a question!

I posted last week that I was having trouble finding a brand of cake flour that doesn't include an egg allergy warning. I found a brand, Swans Lake, at Harris Teeter over the weekend that didn't list anything on the box. I bought it with the intention of contacting the company, and crossed my fingers that it would work out.

I received an email response from the company today...

November 10, 2010

Thank you for your message concerning Swans Down Cake Flour.

Swans Down Cake Flour does not contain eggs, peanuts or tree nuts.


Cross Contamination - Swans Down Cake Flour

Swans Down Cake Flour has its own line and only Swans Down Cake Flour is packaged on this line so there is not a chance of cross over contamination.

Thank you for contacting us and your interest in our cake flours.


Sincerely yours,

Brenda Macaluso

Consumer Affairs Manager

Reily Foods Company

YAY! Problem solved! And, the company earned a gold star in my book for not only responding to my email, but responding to the entire question (many times companies will respond with an answer to only part of the question).

Monday, November 8, 2010

Early Intervention

I took the plunge today - I finally called our county's Early Intervention program for Luke. It's kind of funny - this time last year we were doing the same thing because he wasn't crawling or walking yet (well, he started crawling at 11 months, a week after our first EI meeting).

This time it's for not talking. It's not that Luke doesn't talk - he just doesn't talk much. He has a few words/phrases down. He can say...

I did it!

Uh oh!

Oh dear!

All done!

Down!

What's that?

Yeah!

Touchdown!

Baba (bottle, my fault as it's what I've always called it with both boys)

Mama, dada

Some of these are pretty clear - some of them are clear to me, but probably not as clear to others that don't hear it on a regular basis.

My biggest concern is that he doesn't ever repeat simple words that he's constantly asking about. For example, last winter he started pointing at his ceiling fan and saying, what's that? And we tell him fan, but he has never said the word. He points at some things all the time, such as cat, dog, shoes, nana, papa, etc, and asks what's that. There are times that we go through a lonnnnng stretch of vocab lessons, where he will go from one object to another, asking what it is. He doesn't say Cody, although I do think he tries as he will occasionally point at Cody and say "dee!". Some words, such a tree and outside, he said once or twice many months ago, but never again.

I think if he finally started saying cat, dog, ball, etc after repeatably asking us what they are, I would feel a lot better and not worry so much. But because he hasn't progressed past asking what the words are, I do worry some.

He understands a LOT though. I can tell him to do something, like put something in the trash, take his socks off, etc and he'll do it without hesitating. So I'm not terribly worried. I have a feeling Luke will start when he's good and ready to, just like the crawling and walking. But I don't want to continue putting meeting with EI off, if meeting with them sooner rather than later will help him some. One thing I've struggled with is not comparing him to Cody. Cody walked at 9.5 months (not just cruising around the coffee table, I mean took off walking full force), and was able to have simple conversations with us at 18 months. Because of that, I've had to fight the urge to think, Oh no, Luke is way behind Cody. But at the same time, I don't want to do Luke a disservice by not getting assistance if he needs it.


My Sweet, Wonderful, Awesome Boy


Gotta love my Captain Cody.
 

He's always ready to goof with his mama...


He's good to his baby brother



And will even take him for a spin the John Deere...

A couple weeks ago we were driving, and he announced his plans - he would give me all the money in his piggy bank so that I could buy a Chevy Traverse and have more room in the car for Rosco (our dog).

Then the other day he told me that he wants a remote control Jeep Wrangler, and a ride on Jeep Wrangler for Christmas.  Then when he turns 16 he will get his license and get a Jeep Wrangler so I don't have to drive him to school anymore.  And then he said, "but I'll drive you around the block mommy!".
Today I dropped him off at school, and when I did his assistant teacher told me that on Monday he told her that he really missed his mommy.  Melt my heart!

When I picked him up today, he looked at Luke and said very quietly, I really missed you today Luke.

He loves school, but apparently thinks of us while he's there <3

How did I get so lucky?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Preparing for a Party, Allergy Style!

The planning has begun!

Luke's party is about 1.5 weeks away - I can't believe he's almost TWO! We're going with a Mickey Mouse theme, because he's Luke's current favorite. There are so many cute ideas out there for little boy parties, I spent hours looking at them. I just need to have a few more little boys so I can use more of the themes!

The perpetual procrastinator that I am, I waited until the last minute to make his invitations, but I was happy with how they turned out. I found the template for them here. Instead of using the fill in the blank template for the wording, I created my own in Word.

I also found lots of great printables at the Playhouse Disney website, and a cute idea for a picture banner elsewhere, but I'll post pics of those after the party =)

Food is my biggest concern right now. My plan is to make a cupcake tower with Red Velvet Cupcakes. I'll also make the cream cheese frosting in the same recipe. Two problems: the recipe calls for egg, so I'll be using Ener-G Egg Replacer, and it also calls for cake flour. I've only found two brands of cake flour, and both have may contain egg warnings. Blah! So I'll be using All Purpose flour. I'm doing a practice run this week, and I'm hoping they turn out well. If not, I'll fall back on the Chocolate Cupcakes from my The Divvies Bakery Cookbook: No Nuts. No Eggs. No Dairy. Just Delicious!.

I'm thinking somewhat simple for the buffet - my goal is that there won't be anything at the party that Luke can't eat. We're trying out this Ham and Cheese Slider recipe tonight, minus the mayo. I'm also planning on picking up some safe foods from Trader Joe's, such as their mini cheese pizzas. Sides will be simple - veggie plate, fruit kabobs and chips. Simple will make it easy for me to have yummy food, while not have to worry too much about making sure everything is safe.

The one thing that will be missed is an ice cream cake. It's been a birthday tradition since Cody's first birthday, but there just aren't any safe ones in our area. I toyed with the idea of making my own, and I may go that route after all, but for now, it's not in the plans.


Returning to Cloth Diapers

I'm a cloth diaper mama - well, I was up until a couple months ago. That's about the time that we went into our all out war with pneumonia, and Luke was constantly on antibiotics. Antibiotics do not agree with his tummy, and dealing with antibiotic influenced messy diapers is not my idea of a good time. Not to mention that diaper creams and cloth diapers don't mesh well.

So we went to disposables around the clock. We stuck with them even after the nasty diapers were done, because I realized that he was outgrowing his size 3's, and I had a ton of them left. So I put off CDing again, to try and get through the size 3 stash. I'm still working on that but it's time to get him back into his fluff. Why? Well, I miss cloth diapering - they're cute and fun =) But, also for this reason...


Little man's pants won't stay up.  These are 18 month Carter's jeans.  He was stuck in these jeans all day, and every few minutes they were dropping down to his ankles.  12 months fits his waist, but he needs 18 months for the length.  Where to cloth diapers play into this?  The extra fluff helps fill out his pants a bit more =)  So if he has a bit more junk in his truck the next time you see him, you'll know why!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Holiday Series I: Halloween

We did it! We made it through Halloween without a hitch!

I'll start with a confession - I had candy yesterday that had peanuts and/or peanut butter in it. And it was GOOD.

I took every precaution that I could though - had my treats in the kitchen, far from where Luke was. Cleaned up well afterwards (counter top, hands, mouth). And made sure that the candy was never anywhere near him.

As for Trick or Treating, Luke kind of made it easy for us - he passed out before we were able to leave the house. The poor boy wore himself out practicing being Robin! My husband and I took Cody to a few houses while my parents watched Luke, and once we got home, we took anything out that was peanuty. Nothing came home with us that was unsafe for Luke.

I planned ahead of time for having to remove some things from the candy bowl - I bought Halloween size packages of Twizzlers and Skittles, as well as Goldfish. The easy part is that Cody is happy with any kind of candy, so there was no arguing as long as he had his sugary goodness. And Luke is still pretty clueless about all of it. Next year might not be so easy, but it was nice having such an easy time this year.

Next up, Luke's birthday! I'm already working on food for the guests, and the celebration sweets (cupcakes!).

DIY Robin Costume

This year's costumes were selected by a matter of a great deal - one day while Cody was in school, Luke and I went into Old Navy with a sweet little 40% off coupon burning a hole in my pocket. All kids items were already marked down 40% in the store - including costumes. Cody loves Batman, and they had one left in his size, so bingo! 40% off store sale + 40% off coupon = incredibly cheap costume. And of course, every Batman needs a Robin, so Luke's costume was decided as well.

I looked around briefly for a Robin costume, and while there were a few to choose from on eBay, and they weren't terribly expensive, I decided to make one my own. Going by a couple pictures of Robin that I found online, I started searching around my house for what I needed.

I already had a plain long sleeve red shirt that I had picked up at Walmart for $3.50 - it was part of my "I'll eventually do something with this" stash. I didn't have the right shade of green for pants, so back to Walmart I went, and found a pair in the girl's dept for $3.50. I raided the Goodwill bag, and found a yellow tshirt that I decided would work perfect for the details on the costume. And finally some black felt to finish out the details.

Everything is attached using Heat n' Bond. I had every intention of sewing everything down for extra security, but my sewing machine and I weren't getting along, so I didn't. It held up well for the most part, although the R disappeared before the end of the evening.

For the cape I just free hand cut it out, using the tshirt as a guide, and attached with velcro on the shoulders.

I was pretty pleased with it - not too bad for my first attempt at making a costume!








Making

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cards, Cards Everywhere!

It’s never too early to start thinking about Christmas/Holiday cards, is it? That’s my new motto anyway, after I learned my lesson last year. I put off looking into cards, because I was too busy. Then I couldn’t seem to get pictures of the boys that I felt were worthy of being on a photo card. Next thing I knew, Christmas had come and gone, and I hadn’t sent any cards. First time in years that I didn’t send Christmas cards, and it still makes me cringe. So I’m getting an early start this year.

The other day I received some information that bloggers can earn 50 free cards by reviewing their 2010 Christmas/Holiday card collection. I decided to jump on the opportunity, and boy was I impressed.

Their Christmas Card section has 748 cards to choose from! And these are beautiful, well designed cards. I was also pleased to see that they offer Holiday Story Cards. I've never been one to send a yearly letter, but including a few events is a nice touch in holiday cards. Their Holiday Story Cards make that easy, and the cards are sweet. My favorite is the How Holly Story. A sweet, clean design with just enough room to share a tidbit about each person. Stationery Cards are another great product offered by Shutterfly. Same beautiful designs and photos, but with a writable section for including your own handwritten message.

So which one do I plan on using? It's a hard choice, and a lot depends on what kind of pictures I can get of the boys. One good one of the both of them? Or individual photos? With the card collection, I have lots to choose from for either. If I can get one good pictures of them, I'm leaning toward The Love Stockings card, I adore the sweet stockings in the photo. Boys won't cooperate, and I end up with photos of one crying, or one picking on the other? I'm looking at The Much Merry Christmas card. I just love the blue and red design of the card.

You really can't go wrong with the Shutterfly Card Collection, there are so many different cards, styles and color choices to choose from.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Safety Insistence

I've noticed something the last few weeks that is really starting to bug me. I've had several episodes where someone will insist that a food is safe for Luke, even when I have told them that it is not.

I have an acquaintance that has done this for awhile. I'll tell them that Luke can't have a certain food item, and they'll argue with me, saying that it's safe and/or insinuating that I'm just being overprotective. The insistence is almost to the point of them being desperate to belittle me and show that I am wrong, which really baffles me.

The other day I took the boys for haircuts, and the employee wanted to give Luke a lollipop. I said no thank you, he has food allergies, I brought my own. I then had to listen to a several minute explanation of how all her moms of celiac kids can give their kids the lollipop, so it must be safe. Ok, #1 - who mentioned celiac? I know I didn't - and it's completely different from his allergies. And #2, I'm the mom, and a paying customer - if I say no, don't argue with me!

Seriously - if a mom of a kid with food allergies says no to a food item, don't argue with them. We know what's best, even if it doesn't make sense to someone else. And please don't compare one allergy or intolerance to another. Even if a food is ok for one allergy, it may not be for another. Food allergy parents are just trying to do the best they can to protect their children - let us do our job.

And honestly, even if a parent is being over protective...who cares? How is that hurting you? Does it really hurt an individual to have a lollipop turned down for one that was brought from home? Or for a friend to not give their child some form of junk food that they don't feel is safe?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Handprint Spiders

I ran across this post at The Mother Huddle and wanted to give it a try. Other than Luke flipping out over me dipping his hand into paint, and refusing to spread his fingers for one side of the spider, I think they turned out really cute =)





Sunbutter and Banana Sandwich

Today I did something that I hadn't been able to bring myself to do for quite awhile.

Six months to be exact.

I made a slightly different version of the sandwich that caused Luke's first anaphylactic reaction, and had it for breakfast.

The morning of his reaction, he took two bites of Cody's peanut butter and banana sandwich. A sandwich that I have loved since I was a little kid. Something that had been a staple in my life, and then Cody's. I've never been a traditional breakfast kind of person- eggs often don't appeal to me, cereal leaves me still feeling hungry. But a PB&Banana sandwich always hit the spot.

A few weeks after his reaction I bought our first jar of sunbutter at Trader Joe's. Cody was reluctant to try it, but after awhile he decided it was to his liking. I was slower - eating a food that resembles something that caused such a scary reaction for my baby just really turned me off.

This morning though I decided it was time to try it.

So I started with this...


And ended up with this....



And it was good.  

Not as good as crunch peanut butter, but good in it's own way.  And it feels good to have gotten past that uneasy feeling.