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Monday, February 17, 2014

10 Things Allergy Moms Wish You Knew.... Elaborated

So, this post is making rounds on the internet today, and I felt compelled to elaborate a bit on it, offering insight into MY life. :)

Click Image for Original Post! :)
Being an allergy mom is hard and there is no user's manual!

Rachel Lee Coppola's article hits the nail on the head, so I'll start from there. :)

1. I worry about my child's allergies and constantly have fear for his safety in the back of my mind.

No REALLY, ALL OF THE TIME.  At home, at the store, when we're out to eat, at family or friends' homes, when he's sound asleep, when he's swimming & bathing.  I am ALWAYS worried about what could possibly cause a reaction to start.

If I am not directly responsible for him, I am literally terrified that someone ELSE will make a mistake and give him something he's allergic to. Even his own dad can't recite the list of things he's allergic to.  Nobody else is as vigilant about Vinnie's allergies as I am....though Luke is a close second! :)

Our family and friends are AWESOME and really do try to keep him safe, but ultimately that responsibility falls on me.

2. I wish life were different, but I am doing my very best to make his life AWESOME and NORMAL.

I refuse to force Vinnie (or our family) to live in a bubble.  He is going to be a NORMAL little boy.  I am not going to remove all allergens from our home, because I cannot possibly remove all allergens from the outside world and I need to teach Vinnie and Luke how to stay safe in the OUTSIDE world just as much as at home.

We will go out & do things. We will go to parks that have trees with NUTS on them!  We will go to amusement parks and we will eat in restaurants.

3. It may not make sense to you, but please don't think I'm over-reacting.

This is what it takes to keep Vinnie safe.  Yes, his allergies really are THAT bad.  Please don't judge.  You don't KNOW.  Try walking a mile or a few days in my shoes and then we can talk about how I "over-react".
4. Food allergies can & often do, mean isolation for Vinnie.  Please try to be considerate.

This is the one I struggle with the most.  It is so hard to see Vinnie get left out.  It is difficult to provide snacks or other things so that he can just be one of the kids.  I try, but its not easy.  A little consideration from others and understanding goes a really long way.

5. It is not just a mild tummy-ache type reaction.  The reactions are violent, involve multiple body systems, and can become fatal. 

For real. I have held my passed out child, limp, in my arms and watched him struggle to breathe.  Until you have BEEN THERE, please do not down-play his reactions.  Yes he has many intolerances and there are environmental factors which cause the minor symptoms of his excema to flare up, BUT, his TRUE IgE mediated allergies, can and will KILL him if we do not treat them properly and carefully.  Vinnie has had many different symptoms because of his allergies, including vomiting and diarrhea, but even THOSE symptoms aren't considered "mild".  Imagine the worst stomach bug or food poisoning you've ever had, couple with difficulty breathing, hives, and a sense of "impending doom".  That's what it feels like when your food allergy is so bad you start to vomit.

6. Don't tell me that my child will, "grow out of it!"  I don't know that & neither do you.  Nor do I have time think that way right now.  

I've actually done some research into the matter and read different studies.  Unfortunately for Vinnie, his allergies are SO bad, that he is actually NOT likely to outgrow them.  It is very possible that he will NEVER enjoy the taste of real cheese or a real ice cream cone.  He may never go a day without his Epi-Pen nearby.  I especially don't want this to be said in FRONT of him or his brother.  Don't give him that THING to look forward to, that may never come....because you'll be long gone when I have to break his heart that he HASN'T grown out of it.

7. Yes, a tiny little bit, WILL hurt.

OMG.  Seriously.  Allergic=allergic.  Most recently, Vinnie had a food challenge at the hospital.  I baked cookies that were completely Vinnie friendly, except, I used REAL eggs instead of egg replacer.  He had tested negative to baked egg (a different protein than non-baked egg) and his doctor thought he might be safe to eat it.  There were 2 eggs used in the recipe that made about 4 dozen cookies.  The cookies were about 5" across.  The doctor broke off a piece of cookie that was about 1/4 of an inch round and offered it to him.  Within less than 5 minutes, he had begun to break out in hives.  Now, the amount of egg in that TINY bite of cookie, was incredibly small, but it still caused a full-blown allergic reaction.  He received a shot of benadryl & 4 hours of observation in the hospital!

Vinnie's first life-threatening food allergy reaction that sent us to the E.R. happened after he spilled an EMPTY cup on himself.  The cup had been used for chocolate milk and had a tiny ring around the bottom, that trapped a few drops of milk.  At the time, we didn't even know he had a dairy allergy--we thought it was from the corn syrup in the chocolate!  Maybe 5-6 drops of chocolate milk spilled on his face.  He did not DRINK any of it, but it managed to wipe into his mucous membranes.  Within seconds of spilling the cup, he was breaking out in hives and hysterical.

Another more recent occurrence happened during dinner at my parents' house.  We were all having tacos.  Vinnie was in his clean highchair with his safe cheese & some french fries.  Tim fixed his own dinner and was eating with just one hand (or so he thought).  Vinnie asked for more fries, which were on the main table.  Tim used his "clean" hand to reach in the basket & give Vinnie some.  Within minutes, Vinnie was having a full-blown reaction.  We were able to get him cleaned up & dosed with benadryl & consult his doctor on the phone to avoid the hospital, but literally just the DUST/OIL residue from an offending food touching a food for a few brief seconds that Vinnie would then eat, caused a serious reaction.

We do not take chances.  Vinnie may not have ANY dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree-nuts, blueberries, cherries, bananas, peaches, corn, garlic, penicillin or cleocin.

8.  Please make our lives easier by being aware that dropped food, wrappers, and uneaten-unattended food is extremely dangerous.

You never know who is going to come along behind you.  If Vinnie trips and falls on a floor that may be cross-contaminated he must immediately wash his hands with soap and water.  He has tiny open cuts on his body from his excema and if your allergy prone food gets into those open sores (or any mucous membrane--via wiping his hands to eyes/mouth/or nose) he is then exposed and may react.
Because he is a toddler and not fully capable of controlling himself or understanding his allergies, he still picks things up and wants to eat them!  Your left-over pizza or candy could kill him.  Please clean up after yourself & your children.  That popcorn you spill on the ground & leave for the birds to clean up, it has sent my kid to the hospital.

9. This is NOT a dietary choice.  It is MANDATORY.

This is our life.  I would not CHOOSE to limit our diet this way, if I didn't have to.  We don't get to take a day off.  If we run out of allergy-safe food, we have to buy or bake more.

10.  This is not my fault.  I am just a MOM doing my best to protect my kid from the dangerous world of allergens around us.  I am NOT trying to inconvenience you.  If you don't want to tolerate the things that we NEED to happen, say so and we'll take our business and our friendship elsewhere.  I am doing my very best to keep my child safe, and sometimes, that means I need a little help from you. 

Instead of being put-off by my requests, or judging me, or thinking how HARD it will be to accommodate us, have a little patience, take a step back, and try to imagine just how HARD it is to be a 2 year old boy who can't have the things the other kids do, who can't eat the same snack as the other kids, who can't play with play-dough or eat real snow-creme while all his friends do.
We aren't asking you to walk all day in our shoes, just change the way you do things for an hour or so, so that Vinnie, sweet awesome, fun loving, adorable, little Vinnie, can be a kid too.

So, thanks to Rachel for getting that out there.

Now, I have one more thing I'd like to add, that THIS allergy mom wants you to know.

11.  My kid is AWESOME.  His allergies do not define him. 

He is smart and funny. He is tiny but fierce.  He has a sense of humor.  He loves to eat.  His favorite thing is meat & dip french fries in.  He knows he is allergic to many things, but he still gets to enjoy candy and popsicles and pizza and all the other things that our family partakes in.  He is a fighter.  He deals with severe excema breakouts, hives, itchy and swollen eyes, hands, and feet on a regular basis....but he rarely complains.
He is an awesome little dude and I love him just the way he is!  If I could take away his allergies, I would, in a heartbeat, but I can't and I wouldn't change HIM for anything!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 Challenge

I'm always up for a good, fun challenge, and Tim and I have a personal goal of getting the house organized & de-cluttered, so this one actually fits well into our plans for this year.

The 2014 Challenge is to remove 2,014 items from the home,  keeping in mind that new items brought IN have to be accounted for on the output.  (So at Easter, birthdays and Christmas we will have to get rid of as many things as we receive.)

I decided to start it off with going through the boys' "junk" toy bin.  They have one toy box that is for all the miscellaneous little things they cherish.  The toys there don't fit in with any of their other toys.  I managed to pull out 16 things into a "boy grab bag" to donate to Peace.Love.Swap at our Feb. 8 swap and 3 pieces to the Thomas Train track that we have recently rehomed to the Grandparents house.

So, this isn't to say that the boys won't get new stuff (or me or Daddy) but that we will try to get rid of some STUFF that we don't need. :) (in a eco-responsible way if possible)

We have a pile behind the shed as well of toys that need to go to the dump and we also plan to clean out the garage & my office!

I plan to have a nice stash of stuff to donate at the February 8 Peace.Love.Swap since it is being hosted by our church & I'd love it to have a great turn-out.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Updated Cloth Diaper Stash

Vinnie has no desire to use the toilet or even begin potty learning so we are still full-time in cloth diapers for him!  Luke has graduated to Pull-Ups overnight and regular big-boy undies all day long.

Here's Vinnie's current diaper stash!

12 Bum Genius 3.0 Diapers
5 Bum Genius 4.0 Diapers
6 Soggy Bottom Baby Fitted Diapers (3 small, 3 medium)
4 BSRB Fitteds
1 MamaGoetsch Creations Fitted Pocket
9 Alva Baby Diapers stuffed for day-times
7 Happy Flute OS AIOs (one not pictured) 
5 Alva Baby Diapers stuffed for night-times

I super-duper love the Happy Flute AIOs and want to add some more of them to the stash! 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cloth Diaper Stash

Last week I decided to take a short break from cloth diapers, since I was feeling burnt out with all the housework and laundry.

As of tonight, Vinnie is back in cloth.  Here's our stash as it is today, minus the diaper (navy blue night-time alva) that he's sleeping in.

From top left-to right, to bottom left- to right

12 Bum Genius 3.0 Diapers
6 Bum Genius 4.0 Diapers
6 Soggy Bottom Baby Fitted Diapers (3 small, 3 medium)
12 Alva Baby Diapers stuffed for day-times
6 Alva Baby Diapers stuffed for night-times

42 Diapers

We also have 6 or 7 Happy Flute OS AIO diapers coming soon from a co-op, but I'm not sure how they're going to work out on my skinny guy.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Happy 4th Birthday Lucas Wayne!!

Friday was Luke's fourth birthday! It's crazy to think about four YEARS having passed!

We started celebrating his big day by making Iron Man cupcakes for his classmates at Churchland Baptist Preschool on Thursday.

That evening, I made rice & gravy for dinner, which used to be one of his favorites, but he wouldn't touch it.

Luke got to celebrate his 4th birthday from the time he woke up until bedtime!

First thing in the morning, Tim took him to I-Hop for a chocolate chip smiley face pancake breakfast.

Then we spent the day at home, hanging out & getting things done, before leaving around 2:30 to pick up Carolynn.

Both boys napped in the car & at 3:15 Carolynn joined us!

We headed to Sonic for a VERY late lunch &  then to my friend Sarah's house, for a playdate with her kids.

After the play-date, we headed to Norfolk to meet Tim for dinner.  We made a pit-stop at Heaven & Earth to look for a Bible for Luke (no luck) and then to the Dollar Deals Store for some birthday balloons and treat bag favors.

Finally, we met Tim at CiCi's for Luke's birthday dinner!

After dinner and dessert it was finally time for presents!

Luke got a Pirate whale & a pirate with a cannon Imaginext playsets. :) He's all about pirates, ever since Trevor's party back in May, so he was very happy.

He also got a set of PJs from me. I made the Spiderman pants that he has been requesting and managed to find a like-new PJ top at the thrift shop that matched the pants perfectly. :)

Happy 4th Birthday Lucas Wayne! 
Mommy & Daddy love you to pieces!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Potty Learning!

I feel like I've posted on this topic before, but this time it is REALLY real.

Luke is officially day-time potty trained.

He has been going pee on the potty (and poo too) since he was a tiny little guy, not even two years old.

But, he's always had the diapers to fall back on, and then when he broke his foot this summer, we went to Pull-Ups 100% of the time.

He does not do well, knowing that he has a "crutch", so trainers and Pull-Ups had to go.  

Now that Luke is in Pre-K 3, we needed to get him trained pretty quickly, since the school PREFERS that the kids are in underwear.

Last weekend, September 19-23, we headed to Emporia.  We left right from school (where he had a Pull-Up on) and drove out to Mom & Dad's.  As soon as we got there, we said goodbye to Pull-Ups.

Luke didn't have any accidents on Thursday.  On Friday he pee'ed on the couch while playing on the i-Pad.  So, he lost the i-Pad for the day.  Saturday he had an accident early in the morning, but stayed dry all day, even through playing outside.  Sunday he stayed dry.  And ever since he has pretty much been dry. :) He's had one or two accidents, but they were true accidents and not just laziness.  (at the play-place--too distracted)

We aren't concerned with night-time potty training right now.  When he has day-times down and we don't have to remind him or keep after him, then we'll start to think about night-time training.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Quick Craft!

Tomorrow night is "Crazy Hat Night" at Awanas, at Central Baptist Church.

Vinnie will wear his Woody hat, simply because its his favorite hat right now.  BUT, Luke didn't have a hat to wear.

So, I searched the web for about 30 minutes and came across this free tutorial package, from FleeceFun.Com.

I quickly printed out the pieces & dug into my big bag o' fleece (a King size quilt bag).  I found enough scraps to make the dino hat & got to work.

It is an easy pattern to follow with clear instructions but also features a video tutorial (I didn't watch).
I made the Child Large.

So, without further ado, here's Luke "crazy" dino hat!

Modeled by Luke

Modeled by Carolynn