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. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Skin Prick and Blood Test Results

We met with Luke's allergist/immunologist Friday.

His IgG levels have gone up since his initial test in August, which is excellent news. It's still on the lower end, but it pretty much doubled in that short period of time. We're still working on determining if he has some kind of deficiency.

For the food allergy portion of his blood work, we got some good news, and some expected news. He tested negative to crab and shrimp, which we were very happy to hear about as we're around both fairly often. The expected news? He tested positive to egg and sesame. The level for sesame was fairly low, so we go back in late November for an in office food challenge (IOFC). We'll have to bring in some kind of cracker that has sesame seeds on it, and he'll eat it slowly in office while being closely monitored. If he passes that, we can stop worrying about sesame which will be great. Sesame isn't one of the Top-8 allergens, so companies are not required to label for them. Anything that says "spices" in the ingredient list could include sesame. It's a bit of a pain in the butt to deal with!

The level for egg was higher than sesame, but still on the lower end. Which initially made the allergist want to do an IOFC for egg also. But once she saw that his peanut levels weren't much higher, and he had an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts, and I told her about another reaction that he had to egg not long after the mysterious anaphylactic reaction after eating at Burger King, she decided to hold off.

From there we moved on to the skin prick test. It was a series of 14 pricks on his back - this is when things got bad for him :( He handled it well, but he cried a lot. Once they were done, we had to wait 20 minutes for the results, but he just wanted to leave. He got his shoes on, and kept slapping the door saying "all done!".

Of the 14 tests (ranging from mold to pollen to pet dander), he tested positive to three things. Two of them were environmental - cats and dogs. The one food that she tested, egg, was a major reactor. Any wheal over 8mm is considered an indicator of a probable reaction to whatever is being tested. Anything over 13mm is considered to be a serious reaction. Luke's was 17mm. Because of this we are going with the conclusion that his anaphylactic reaction after eating mayonnaise at Burger King was to the egg in the mayo, and we will continue to avoid egg like the plague :) Blood test will be done again in a year to see if there has been any improvement. Most kids outgrow egg allergies by age five.

His wheals for dog and cat were much smaller, but were positive. Per the allergist, it's not bad enough that we need to remove our animals from the house, but we have to make some changes and take some precautions to minimize his contact. Most of the changes involve his bedroom.

He received the flu shot. The flu vaccine has small amounts of egg in it, so she wanted it done under her supervision, just in case. I was a little nervous about that part, but due to his asthma and pneumonia history, it was extremely important that he get the vaccine, so we went ahead. Thankfully it went without any problems.

All in all, it was a good visit. We definitely got some answers, and I have to say that I am highly impressed with the doctor that we are seeing now.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mama Made Shirts

As I've mentioned before, I want to be more crafty.

For months now I've been saving links to cool craft projects online, collecting supplies, and having big dreams of stuff to get into. Not a whole lot has actually been done though, partly for lack of time, partly for lack of motivation, and partly because of my fear of messing up.

But really - who cares if I mess up? Most of the supplies I have were very inexpensive. So it wouldn't be a tragedy if something didn't turn out right. No one but me would know if a project I attempted ended horribly, so I decided to jump in.

Last night I locked myself into my craft/guest/storage room, and got to work. I'm pretty happy with the results...

Luke's Camo Mickey Shirt

Cody with his Cars Sheriff Shirt

Showing off Red from Cars

The Mickey shirt was made using a Mickey template I found here, and scrap fabric from a pair of old camo pants. Both Cars shirts are made from Cars fabric that I've had forever (was meant to be made into a pillow for Cody about two years ago, oops). For all three, I ironed the appliques onto adhesive backed paper, ironed that onto the shirts, and then sewed around the edges.

The sewing was the hardest part for me. Red was the first shirt, and the stitching isn't that great. But I'm ok with that - I got better with the other two shirts, and that's what matters =)

Today I attempted to sew a baby blanket. It was supposed to be for a friend's shower, that has already passed. As I said, lack of time and motivation. The blanket didn't go nearly as well as the shirts. Two hours later I was mumbling to myself, cussing at the sewing machine, and generally grumpy. I shall try again tomorrow.

Upcoming craftiness:
Making Luke's Robin costume to go with Cody's store bought Batman one, silhouettes of the boys turned into stocking holders, and zazzing up some of my boring shirts.


A Season of Firsts

Just a quick note to say be on the lookout for a series of dealing with "Firsts" as a food allergy family. The next few months will be full of them for us - Halloween, Luke's birthday party in mid-November, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years (along with a few other birthdays thrown in there for good measure!). Follow along as I navigate the long stretch of holiday season while keeping it safe, and fun, for Luke. How fitting is it that as we near the end of our first year as a food allergy family, that we will be faced with several firsts? We've had the last several months to plan and practice, and will soon be bombarded with opportunities to put our new knowledge to good practice.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Another First {Pumpkin Patch}

This week we had another first as a food allergy family - a school field trip to the pumpkin patch.

My biggest concern for the day was not letting Luke handle the feed for the animals. There's no way of knowing what's in it, and I really didn't want to find out the hard way that it contained some kind of nut or egg product.

When we were waiting for the hayride, another problem was staring me down; A little girl with her peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I had been prepared for that possibility during lunch (although Cody's class is peanut free, I don't know if the whole school is or not), but not first thing. I made sure that we didn't sit next to her on the hayride, and it wasn't an issue. It's just a little jolting to see another child holding something that could send my child to the ER.

We ended up having a great time there. Cody and Luke had fun picking out their pumpkins, and then Cody had a blast on the various games and rides that they had set up.  The boys both loved the petting zoo part.  Luke thought the goats were hilarious, and made sure to laugh loudly at them continuously.  I think he might have given them a bit of a complex by the time we left.