Friday, July 31, 2009
I like to think I'm usually a pretty laid-back mom when it comes to Miss M's food allergies. That I can survey a situation without others noticing. That my behavior doesn't shout "helicopter mom" even though that's what I'm charged with being - at least when it comes to food allergies. That I'm not terrified, but only reasonably cautious, when PB&J's appear at picnic lunches with friends. (Please go read a little more about my experience as a food allergy parent in a guest post over here). Certainly, I make folks aware of our situation, but it's usually not a big deal. So why is it on my mind right now?....
We've spent the week at Vacation Bible School. There's a snack supper in the evenings. They serve some foods that Miss M cannot have. They also serve an alternative meal for kids that don't like what's being served. Yep, you guessed it ... it's peanut butter and jelly. I've found that this arrangements isn't at all unusual, and I've tried to be supportive of a friend who is also experiencing the same thing this week with her food-allergic child. Through our common experience, we are really supporting each other, and that has been invaluable!
At VBS, we have to ask for a 'no dessert' plate for Miss M's dinner. It's not ever been this tough for me, as a food-allergy parent, to make my child into a 'have not.' I think it's the daily repetition that's getting to me. Miss M isn't concerned that she doesn't have the same dessert as everyone else. (I pack a special treat for her, just in case she notices - which has only been one time, so far.)
It also makes me sad that Miss M can't sit with her age-mates at the VBS supper. Many of them eat PB&J for dinner, so she sits with Mister J and me. I asked Miss M's teacher to make sure everyone washes their hands (not just baby wipes) before they all gather for the opening assembly. It's more work for her, and I feel badly that we are an extra burden.
As we approach the school year, I dread that this has been a taste (no pun intended) of what's to come. That thought is starting to pull me down into the depths....
The bright spot in all of this is that I know I'm not alone. There's my blog friend who is going through the same thing this week. There's the church member serving dinner who went out of her way to be sure Miss M had a non-cross-contaminated dinner plate (I have learned she has a PA kid, too). There's the VBS teacher who admitted that she has no experience with food allergies, and took the time to call me this morning to make sure the snack she will be serving tonight will be safe. I'm encouraged that there are people out there who care. I'm not doing this alone. But it still stinks....
Ok, so I'm a little late. Technically, it's Friday. But, since I haven't gone to sleep yet, I'm considering it still Thursday. So, without too much delay since eventually I do have to sleep, here is what's filling up my Thanks Tank this week!
A fantastic week of Vacation Bible School - I'm helping with the elementary science class. Yes, I said science. VBS sure has changed in the
My job - I'm talking about being a SAHM, thought I'm certainly thankful for that! I'm talking about my part-time, flex-hours, work-from-home job. In a time when the economy isn't great, even having a job is a wonderful thing. It's been a busy month for our family and for my job - you may have noticed a scarcity of blog posts... - but I'm thankful I have this job to juggle along with my other roles.
My wonderful 'sisters'- Ladies, our time together the past few months has been really hard to come by. I just wanted to let you know that I love you all so much, I miss our time together, and I can't wait to meet for dinner again soon (though it looks like Mondays are out due to soccer, unless you want to have a picnic dinner with me during practice)! I've had bits and pieces of time here and there to visit/email/IM you, but it's just not the same. Miss you!!!
My mom friends - Whether we are linked because we are/were neighbors, because our children play or attend school/church together, because we share a similar parenting experience, or simply because a mutual friend introduced us and we hit it off, I am thankful for each and every one of those links-turned-friends. This summer, I seem to be (re)connecting with nearly everyone we've ever met since we've lived here. It's been such a joy, and it has strengthened me in a way that I really needed. Thank you to each of you! And to those of you that I keep missing, I'm committed to correcting that!
I know that there's so much more, but I have to admit that I'm tired. And I have to get up in less than 6 hours. And I'm not asleep yet since I needed some late-day caffeine to make it through VBS (more than double my average work hours this month - thankful, remember, but worn out!). I think I'm turning old. I'm ok with that, I suppose, as long as you don't tell my kids that I'm not young, fun, and cool!
By the way, hop on over and visit my bloggy friend Jane Anne, who introduced me to Thursday Thanks. She's reaching a big bloggy milestone soon!
previous Thursday Thanks posts
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I'm thankful for a wonderful opportunity to stretch my blogging wings and to share my thoughts on an issue that's very important to our family.
I'm thankful for the lovely weather we've had the last few weeks - simply lovely - and for the time we've had to enjoy the outdoors.
I'm thankful for time to visit with friends. We were able to cook out with friends over the weekend, and also had a friend come up for a visit yesterday. The time to catch up with each other was wonderful - and long overdue!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
We've had a lot of firsts in the last several days!
1) Last Thursday, Mister J did a back-flip on the rings of our swingset - all by himself! Here he is showing off his new skill while visiting Grandma and Grandpa R over the weekend.
(pictures to follow very soon!)
2) The kids also enjoyed their first straight-from-the-tree apples! This tree has been producing for years, so I don't know why we haven't done this before now. Miss M was particularly pleased that she could reach - and pick! - the apples. Whenever we were outside, she'd wander to the tree for another apple!
(again, pictures as soon as I hook up the camera!)
3) We tasted our very first orange-flesh honeydew! It was just as you would imagine- a cantaloupe-y tasting honeydew. Still - yum!
(pictures... you guessed it ... coming soon)
4) We also went to a local water park during our visit - it was Miss M's first time in a water park. I wish I'd remembered my camera! Grandma R took hers, and I'll have to get copies of her pictures....
5) Also over the weekend, we took our first trip to the emergency room with one of our children. Miss M took a spill in the driveway at Grandma and Grandpa R's house, and ended up with a big lump on her forehead. She's ok, but I was worried enough to go and have her checked out - especially since we were away from home and from our pediatrician's office.
Monday, July 20, 2009
I'm not here right now, but if you need me, hop on over to Triad Smarty Pants. I'm guest posting there today!
Food Allergies: A Parent's Perspective
At my daughter’s recent well-child check-up, the pediatrician and I were discussing my daughter’s diet. More specifically, we were discussing that my daughter doesn’t care for meat. As we talked about alternatives to ensure that she is getting enough protein, we immediately removed the top two suggestions, peanut butter and eggs, from consideration. Why? Because my daughter is allergic to both of them.
Two summers ago, my husband and I learned of our daughter’s food allergies. We immediately cleared our refrigerator and pantry of any food that could cause another reaction, began reading food labels even more closely, and by tried to learn as much as we could from doctors, parents of food allergic children, and online resources. In our home and other familiar environments - such as the homes of family and friends, our church, or our preschool - we are very comfortable with the level of care and attention to preventing exposure. It’s when we leave these familiar surroundings that our level of concern shifts into overdrive...
Family gatherings, vacations, parties, cookouts, and trips to the pool are just some of the ways we all have fun in the summer. However, as the parent of a food-allergic child, I find that there is always a bit of worry that sneaks in when we should just be having fun. Finding ‘safe’ foods at potluck meals such as family gatherings and cookouts can be a challenge. Vacationing means not only being away from home, but perhaps being away from familiar restaurants and food brands. While we have experienced some accidental exposures, the lessons we have learned from each one have helped us anticipate situations where an allergen may be present and develop our family’s plan for avoiding future exposure.
The most important lesson we have learned is to ask questions. In a restaurant, we may ask to speak to the manager. We constantly read labels – even if someone who is aware of our daughter’s allergies is the one providing the food.
Our daughter was young when we learned of her allergies. She was still at the age where we often brought along her snacks and meals when we were out and about. As a result of her allergies, though, we have never stopped bringing them along. When we go on trips, we typically bring along our ‘safe’ granola bars, a jar of soy butter, and a few other treats in case there’s something served that our daughter cannot eat.
We do a quick visual survey when we arrive some place that is outside of our comfort zone. Because our daughter is still too young to completely understand her allergies, it is our job to be vigilant for her while we teach her ways to take care of herself.
Finally, but most importantly, we always bring along her medications just in case she is exposed to peanuts or eggs.
If you are not the parent of a food-allergic child, these precautions may seem overwhelming - or even extreme. I often get asked, “How do you do it?” or someone will say to me, “That must be hard!” Label-reading, lunch-packing, and treat-bag sorting are normal activities for our family. I think (hope!) we have made it to the point that it’s pretty inconspicuous most of the time.
There are a few things that make can special events more relaxing even though we are living with food allergies:
•Hosts that inquire about food allergies – we don’t expect a meal catered around our daughter’s diet, but we do appreciate knowing that bowls of nuts or candies won’t be sitting about
•Knowing in advance what foods will be served so we can plan accordingly, and a host who understands that we may decline certain foods or bring along alternatives
•When hosts ask for suggestions to provide a ‘safe’ alternative food
•Being able to read the labels on original food packaging whenever possible
•Teaching your children that sharing food with other children is not a good idea, unless they have permission from a parent
In any situation – summer, holidays, or even school events – an open dialogue is the most important factor in keeping a food-allergic child safe!
Here are a few online resources that I often use (click name to access):
The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network
Raising Food Allergic Kids
Sure Foods Living
Food Allergy Buzz
The Nut-Free Mom
These are great suggestions for readers who may have children with allergies, but also for others who may not quite understand how serious this situation can actually be. Thank you, RLR, for some terrific insight on this topic! Also, RLR has an adorable and uplifting blog of her own that you can check out here! - RH
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Mister J: Mom, what are you making?
Me: Blueberry sauce?
Mister J: Why?
Me: We're taking it to the picnic this evening, to put on top of the ice cream.
Mister J: Mom, you're like a bakery lady.
Me: Do you think so? Why?
Mister J: Because you bake stuff that we love.
Isn't he just the sweetest?
...but she is at camp this week, and she's having a blast! While she's there, Mister J and I are having our own brand of fun. Keep coming back to the post, because I'll be updating it throughout the week.
Fun Day Monday was rained out, but we had fun anyway! We went to a friend's house to pick up my co-op fruit and veggies, and she invited us to stay for a while. Mister J really enjoyed spending some time with her sons, and I enjoyed the time to visit and plan some activities for later in the week.
On Tuesday, the plan was to get messy with paper mache. We headed to our church to help make some decorations for VBS. Well, Mister J had more fun playing with the dry strips of newspaper than the wet ones, so I was the only one who really got messy. No matter, he still had fun! (No photos because I was, well, messy!)
Wednesday was Movie Day! You just can't beat the $3 kids movie program in the summer!
We saw Babe, which was new to both of us. Cute movie! We saw friends there again this week. I think the movie is becoming a more popular option now that the weather is starting to heat up a bit.
On Thursday morning, we went blueberry-picking! It was lots of fun, I have lots of pictures (maybe enough for a separate post), and we have LOTS of blueberries! We picked a gallon in about and hour and a half. The weather was overcast, a little muggy, but not too hot. We got done just in time - it started sprinkling as we were leaving the farm!
Tomorrow is Miss M's last day of camp. She's had so much fun with the other kids in her class - several that she already knew (church, preschool, folks that used to be our neighbors) and some new friends, too. I especially love hearing her sing the songs she's learning!
I'm thankful for the fantastic summer camp that Miss M is attending, and for the wonderful mom-and-son time that Mister J and I have shared while she's been there! (follow that link to take you to the post I'm continually updating about our week)
Yes, two opposite-but-very-much-the-same weeks! In each instance, I have really enjoyed the time spent one-on-one. I've had a unique opportunity to see who they are when they are without the other, and I've gotten very special peeks at their individual natures. We have had uninterrupted conversations, tried new things, and done some 'ordinary' things made 'extraordinary' simply by being 'just the two of us'! Lovely!
Previous Thursday Thanks posts
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
One more thing about family reunions - I love the food. Love it. But my excitement is dampened a bit now that we are living with food allergies. We brought along foods that we knew Miss M could eat, including her own dessert stash. Wait ... I did get a photo!
Friday, July 10, 2009
...but he is at a camp this week, and he's having a blast! While he's there, Miss M and I are having our own brand of fun. Keep coming back to the post, because I'll be updating it throughout the week. (If I can figure it out, I'll try to keep this post at the top of the blog for a few days!)
Mondays are fun days around here - literally! Several families from church get together for Fun Day Mondays - usually playtime at a local park and then a picnic lunch. Miss M and I arrived early this week, and spent some time exploring the walking paths before our friends arrived.
I think she was just a little excited about our mom-and-daughter time - I know that I was! She was carrying a bendable Easter bunny toy in her purse that morning, but it was destined to hold more treasures.
She found many treasures along our walk (leaves, weeds, and the pinecone you see above), and called the pinecone her 'corn on the cob' all afternoon. She even wanted me to cook it for dinner! As we walked, I let her lead the way - she narrated our journey, told me when to be quiet so I wouldn't scare the animals, and generally pretended we were in the jungle like Diego.
On the way back up to the playground, she enjoyed a moment to look at a tiny creek.
After the second peek over the side of the bridge, she decided her purse was in the way and handed it to me. Then I got that third shot as my heart tried to leap from my chest - do you see that she pulled herself up on the wall and her feet are off of the ground? After that, it was time to go back to the playground for sure. She wasn't happy about that at first - even told me she was 'so angry' because she wanted to walk more. It wasn't long, though, before her inner monkey took hold and she was climbing and sliding with everyone else!
Today has been a big day, too! Miss M got a brand new booster seat yesterday, and we put it in the mommy-van this morning. She's was very excited about it, though she doesn't look it here. That's her 'not another picture, Mom!' expression.... But she really does like her new seat. She picked the pink and lavender flowers over the red and tan options - such a girl!!!
To add to the girly fun, we both got our hair cut today. It's Miss M's first cut by a professional. Mommy can wield scissors, but she's not nearly as good as Dr. Sabrina! Yes, I said doctor. Miss M was convinced that she wanted to go to the doctor today, and was not happy about the haircut until I told her that "Dr. Sabrina" would be doing it!
Afterwards, we went to a local stationery store. Miss M helped me pick out my new calendar and a birthday gift for a friend. We've got to shop for another birthday gift this week, too - just ran out of time today.
Wednesday was Movie Day!
Miss M didn't really like the movie - The Land Before Time - mainly because she was sad that Littlefoot lost his mommy. Silver lining? You bet! Miss M snuggled with me for most of the movie. I loved that! We also ran into some friends while we were there - another nice treat. After a quick stop by the library, we were headed to pick up Mister J from camp!
Thursday was Miss M's 3-year well visit, so we spent the morning at the pediatrician. (No shots - hooray!) Miss M is enjoyed the opportunity to talk with Dr. C about what she had for breakfast, weigh on the big girl scales, and help Dr. C with the stethoscope and otoscope. When it was time to pick up Mister J, his group leader invited Miss M to sit with the big kids for the closing assembly.
She knows many of the songs already, so she was right at home! I can't wait until she's old enough to attend this camp.
Friday was a very busy morning - no pictures. We were packing for a trip to see Grandma RL and Aunt L for the weekend, then to the closing program for Mister J's camp (so cute! I tried hard not to cry, but did get teary. So proud of Mister J!), then lunch, then on the road. Whew! What a fun, but busy, week! Next week: While Miss M is Away, Mommy and Mister J will Play!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
It's Thursday again, and boy did it ever sneak up on me this week! I have two big thanks items this week - both related to the other.
I'm thankful for the fantastic summer camp that Mister J is atetnding, and for the wonderful girl time that Miss M and I have shared while he's been there! (follow that link to take you to the post I'm continually updating about our week)
The week's not over yet, and neither is the camp - rest assured this is not the last you will hear about it. I'm looking forward to the CD of music from camp - we get it tomorrow after the closing program. Yes, my friends, a closing program! From the CD to the healthy snacks to the fact that Miss M is already learning the songs and she's not even attending, I love this camp, and my kids will attend every year they are eligible!
(I'm also thankful for my friend, Cynthia, who passed along the contact information about this camp!)
Previous Thursday Thanks posts
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Let me go ahead and spill the beans, and then I'll share some photos. We use a rolling garbage bin to store our outdoor toys. Now, don't get overcome by the 'ick' factor and stop reading! We bought the bin specifically for this purpose. Let me show you how well it works!
This is what our yard often looks like at the end of playtime.
While the sand toys get put away under the shell of the turtle sandbox, I have to have a place for all of the balls, the bowling pins, and other outdoor toys. We originally considered a storage bench that would stay on the porch, but found that they were expensive. Plus, we didn't want to constantly haul toys from the porch down to the backyard, and then back up to the porch every time we played outside. The rolling bin works perfectly! Take a look:
Here's a shot to give you some better perspective.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
While it's been a lesson in patience, Mister J and Miss M seem to enjoy watching the progress. We are all looking forward to harvesting some delicious vegetables in the next few weeks!
Here's how our garden began, just a few weeks ago.
After we came home from the pool, I baked a pan of brownies and rounded up some canned drinks and juice boxes - our contribution to a cookout with some friends. In total, there were 6 adults and 8 children. We could not have had better weather (for the entire day) if we'd petitioned Mother Nature! Poolside or backyard, it was just perfect!
I snapped this photo of Miss M before the sun went down and we all headed indoors. I just really liked her outfit, and wanted to have a photo. She was sitting at the top of a playset, having a tea party with a friend.
I hope that, no matter how you spent it, you had a lovely 4th of July!
Details on the lunches:
Top Left - Big J's lunch
Orange sections, dip (Thousand Island, we were out of ranch)
Ham and Cheese Sandwich
Top Right - Miss M's lunch
Strawberries, blueberries, orange sections
Ham, cheese, and veggie roll-ups, (dip, Thousand Island, her favorite)
Bottom Left - Mom's lunch
Strawberries and blueberries
Boursin and water crackers
Bottom Right - Mister J's lunch
Carrot sticks, hummus
Ham and cheese sandwich
Cooking up something yummy with her new stove and cookware!
Only a few moments later she said, "We need some plates!" Of course, we quickly gathered some plates so she could serve up her creations!
There are lots of other photos of the swimming and eating and gift opening that I would love to share - but for the sake of privacy for our family and friends, I will not be posting any more. Know that we had an absolutely lovely day, and we appreciate all of the birthday wishes Miss M received. Also, I highly recommend a pool party for any child with a summer birthday!
(Miss M to Big J when she saw her birthday cake. She was
ready to sing "Happy Birthday" and blow out the candle!)
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Mister J starts another day camp tomorrow, and it's Miss M's turn the following week. Also trying to get a hair appointment, visit with a friend, keep the dishwasher and washing machine busy, keep Mister J interested in swim lessons, and maybe clean up just a little around here. OH, and get the blog caught up (Miss M's birthday, the first time I packed four lunches, and other fun tidbits from around here). It's already time to re-organize the toy room again - how does that happen so fast?!? The nice part about that, though, is that Mister J realized that things have gotten out of place. Hooray for small victories!
How can it be that summer is halfway over?!? It seems like it just begun. We have really gotten into a groove of pool, storytimes, playdates, and even naps some days! I think I'm really going to miss summer when it's over - especially the pool!
Friday, July 3, 2009
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