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Monday, December 22, 2014

Learning day by day

We've been dealing with food allergies for a few months now, and it hasn't been the easiest road. We've had reactions to things we thought were safe, we're learning that cross contact can be the cause of reactions, and we even learned our dog's food can be a risk to Matthew.

At first, I was devastated, because food allergies can be extremely dangerous, and that is scary. I would do anything for my child, and if I could change places with him I would, but I can't. At first, we were just dealing with a life threatening allergy to dairy and a possible nut allergy. Then, about a month ago, we discovered Matt also has a life threatening allergy to eggs. This added another layer, and my paranoia and anxiety sky rocketed. How can I leave my allergic child with anyone but me? What if he has a reaction, and I am not with him? What if he accidentally picks up a food that he is allergic to and eats it? I must go completely dairy and egg free in my house, and I can't let anyone feed him anything other than what I send for him. I have to figure out a way to live on one income so that I can stay home with him, and I have to stay home every night. To say I was a little irrational is an understatement. Let's face it, I have to continue working, going out is good for my mental state, and even under my careful watch, he is still going to have, and has had, reactions.

Then, I found the FAAN network (Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network) online and I started to understand some things. First, my initial fears and anxiety are normal. These allergies are changing our lives, but it's doable. After all, one in 13 kids grow up with food allergies. Next, I think I am finally understanding that reactions are going to happen. Rather than spend the day crying because my child is swollen and covered in hives, I have to focus on how I am reacting to it. Am I noticing any signs of anaphylaxis? Is the Benadryl working? How is he acting? These are key things to focus on, because it can mean a happier life for my child. I am praying hard that he outgrows these allergies, and I have faith that he will - at least the dairy allergy, since 80 percent of kids do outgrow it - but in the meantime I can't stop living. Our life is just different now. I still have fear and anxiety, but it's easing up every day. Grocery shopping has been a big challenge, but yesterday wasn't scary because of all of the labels I was reading, it was scary because of the thousands of people trying to get down the different aisles. sidenote: my goodness people can be rude this time of year. I got my toes ran over by carts, I got rammed in the side by another person's cart and no one even said I'm sorry. And if I heard one more F bomb I was going to scream! Merry Christmas to you all, too. Ok, I'm off my soap box.

While in the war zone called Wegmans, I found some great food Matt can eat, including egg and dairy free waffles, fish sticks and a different brand of his favorite veggie chips, which I had to stop buying because the old brand changed manufacturing sites and started manufacturing the chips at the same facility as other dairy products. Now, he can enjoy them again. I can also call the manufacturers to find out if some of the questionable ingredients have milk protein, and I am finding alot of them are happy to help.

It's still scary sometimes, but we are plugging along, and for that I'm thankful! Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

First Thanksgiving with Food Allergies

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and while it is often one of my favorite holidays, it's also become a scary one for me. It's Matt's first major holiday he's celebrating since his dairy allergy and nut allergy suspicion diagnoses. It wasn't until recently that I learned just how many meals are made delicious because of dairy and nut ingredients, and the Thanksgiving meal is certainly no exception. There's butter in the turkey, the gravy, the bread, the potatoes, the desserts, the list goes on and on.

The regular list of no nos is pretty extensive too, beyond the obvious milk, butter and whey, but to top it off, we have to be conscious of foods that would otherwise be safe for him to eat if only they weren't processed in the same factory as other dairy and nut products. I learned the hard way that those traces of milk, cheese, peanuts etc can still cause a reaction in Matthew.

During last week's snowpocolypse event where we were housebound for four days I learned that Gerber graduate foods that do not have any of the items listed on the foods to stay away from must also be processed in a factory that makes foods with dairy and nut ingredients, because he broke out in hives. Luckily, it wasn't a severe reaction, but it was scary nonetheless, especially because we couldn't get out of the driveway and onto the roads if we needed to get him to a hospital.

So tomorrow, even though I will only feed Matthew the foods I 100 percent know are safe for him to eat, I will still be watching him like a hawk to ensure he doesn't accidentally ingest anything that could cause him serious harm.

To all my friends and family, happy Thanksgiving! And please, stay with your family and friends on Thanksgiving Day. Don't go shopping for Black Friday sales on Grey Thursday or whatever the heck they are calling it. Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for what you have; it's not for promoting the bad business practices of shopping centers who are out to make a buck at the expense of their employees' happiness and ability to spend this national holiday with their family and friends.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Allergies ugh!

So over the last few weeks, Matthew has started eating new foods - whole milk... allergic, almond milk... possibly allergic... peanut butter ... definitely allergic. It's been a trying and scary few weeks of hives, eye and nose swelling, Benadryl and doctor's visits. Next week, we'll be adding a new doctor to the list of appointments, pediatric allergist.

When Matthew was 5 months old he had a reaction to me eating peanut m&ms but a blood test showed he did not have an allergy to peanuts, so we figured that he wasn't allergic. My new pediatrician suggested trying peanut butter to add protein to his diet. So Saturday morning, I made Matt a multigrain waffle with peanut butter on it. As soon as he took his last bite a large hive appeared on his left eye, his nose on the same side swelled slightly, and more hives appeared around his cheeks and leg.  Not wanting to over react, I gave Matt a little Benadryl and took him upstairs to sit in an oatmeal bath and watch. Watch to see if he had any trouble breathing, swallowing and if more hives would appear. Luckily none of that happened, but when the eye swelling didn't go down I figured it was time to call the emergency line at his pediatrician's office. We had an appointment in 20 minutes and to get him there to be seen. Matthew now comes equipped with an Epipen Jr., but I pray to God we never have to use it.

Next week, Matthew and I will be at his two-to-three-hour long allergist appointment where they will test him for those allergies, the severity of them and if he is allergic to anything else. I wonder what causes a child to get allergies though?As far as I know, we don't have food allergies on either side of our families - with the exception of my allergy to pastry filling. I just don't get it. He is healthy in every other aspect, but he suffers from horrible eczema and now it's suspected that he has these food allergies. Hopefully we will get the answers we need to ensure that Matthew stays as healthy as can be. If that means avoiding foods with peanuts and milk, so be it. Let me tell you though, it's not easy to find foods that haven't been processed in a factory with peanuts. And milk? My goodness it seems like it's in everything. I'm hoping he grows out of the milk allergy and I'm further hoping it's just a milk sensitivity and not a full-blown allergy. Keep us in your prayers for a good report next week. I'll keep you all posted. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Well that was eventful!

Ever just feel overwhelmed? That's where I am at right now. The house is a mess, the kid started hitting and the dog, well, she's a pain in the you know what!

Let me begin... every evening I try to make sure the dishes are at least done and the kitchen is mostly cleaned up, because I can't stand gross left over food dried up on the counter. But now, because Matt is into everything I also try to make sure the toys are mostly picked up, or at least thrown into one corner, before I head out the door for the day, but by the time I come home from work it's as if a tornado has made a run through the house.

It's typical every day mom stuff I know, but I feel like I can never catch up on all the stuff that needs to get done. There's endless loads of laundry, piles of dishes to be washed and put away, toys every where and a window of just a few short hours to complete the daily tasks that are must dos every single day. If I let it go, which if I'm being honest happens far too often, it becomes a monstrous task that gives me heart palpitations thinking about the growing list of to dos that need to get done over my short two day weekend.

My day goes as follows, I get up in the morning and shower as quickly as possible so that I can be ready before the baby gets up - sometimes that happens, sometimes not so much. Then I am running around trying to get the baby ready for the day, take care of the dog, the fish and try to get myself ready for work. Then, I drop the baby off at the sitter's house, drive to Tonawanda, work til 5, then get in my car and drive 45 minutes home. Then from the minute I walk in the door, the dog is barking and jumping at me for attention, the baby is following me around the house with his arms up for me to pick him up and the sink is already filled with dishes, the fish bowl needs to be cleaned, the dog is scratching to go outside and the toys are scattered across the floor. Then it's bath time, a little cuddle time on the couch, and then bed time by 8:30 p.m. By 9, it's dishes time, sit on the couch for a little tv and relaxation and then bed time. Some nights the baby sleeps through the night and other nights he's up for hours, and I try everything I can to get him back to sleep before my alarm goes off for the day.

This morning was pretty typical, I got up and showered and ate breakfast all before Matthew got up. It was nice to sit and watch last night's Tonight Show with my husband before the chaos began. I should have known it was too good to be true.

After Eric went to work, all hell broke loose.

As I was upstairs changing Matthew I heard the dog rustling with something in the kitchen. In a span of a few short minutes, a tin of cupcakes from Matthew's birthday party had been entirely consumed along with a few of the plastic Jake and the Neverland Pirates cupcake toppers that I had used to decorate for the party. I wasn't even down the stairs yet and Marley's tail went between her legs and she headed straight for the back door because she knew she ate something - again - that she wasn't supposed to. Now, if it had just been the cupcakes, I wouldn't have worried because she'd eventually puke them up, probably in the middle of the night, but these cake toppers were big and I know Marley would have trouble passing them if she had to, so I called the vet. Induce vomiting, they said, and call them back. GREAT.

I have the baby on my hip, a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in my other hand and I am now chasing Marley throughout the house because she knows what will happen when I pour it down her throat. I finally coax her into her crate where she is thrashing around and Matthew is trying to scoot around me to get into the crate with me and Marley, because that's where the party is, right? I get Matt out of the crate who immediately has a melt down and is throwing himself onto the ground in fits of rage, I corner the dog and get some peroxide into her mouth and get her outside and wait... and wait... and wait... nothing. She's apparently getting used to peroxide-induced vomiting, so I am now chasing her outside with the medicine syringe filled with more peroxide yelling at her to get over here, cursing and telling her that if she doesn't come to me right now I am sending her to the pound and getting rid of her. The roofers two doors down got quite the comedy show this morning. After about 50 minutes, the dog finally threw up the contents of the cupcakes and I was able to take Matt to my dad's and get to work. I then received a text from the hubs asking if I took anything out for dinner? SMACK MY HEAD AGAINST THE WALL.

Side note: I have to give credit where credit is due. Eric does the cooking, so at least I don't have that added to the to do list.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Guess who's one!

Matthew turned one year old last Wednesday and it has been one heck of a celebration week! I took Wednesday off from work, mostly because I wanted to spend the day with my little man, but a small part of me also took off because I knew it would be an emotional day for me. I am thrilled to watch Matty grow, but a very small part of me is sad that my baby is no longer a baby. He will have no more first holidays, no more first steps, no more first laughs, and so on. He's officially a toddler who loves to run, laugh, babble, eat and play with his best bud Marley. 

So Wednesday morning, Matthew and I got up, ate some breakfast and went to get his first birthday pictures taken at Buy Buy Baby. He started off the photo shoot very serious and refused to crack a smile, but as he warmed up, his smile got wider and he started playing with some of the props. The photos turned out great! While we waited for the prints, we shopped around the store and Matthew picked out some blocks and a farm game that sings and makes animal sounds. He thought it was hilarious as I tried to mimic the snorts of the pig and the cluck of the chicken... the other moms in the store thought I may have lost it. I didn't care because we had a great time testing out the toys before we made our final selections.

Then, we did his other favorite activity and went grocery shopping for his birthday party! He was kind of over it though and let me know he was ready to go home at the check out by rubbing his eyes and whining. Even so, he refused to take a long nap, so we spend the rest of the afternoon snuggled up on the couch watching Disney Jr.

After his dad got home from work, we went to French Pub for Matt's birthday dinner, and then back home for cake and ice cream with his grandparents. Not that I had much doubt, but Matthew LOVED his birthday cake. He had such an exhausting day that he fell asleep right after his bath as I was putting on his pajamas. Although we didn't do anything super exciting, I think he had a fun day just hanging out with his mom and dad.

Saturday, we had a small family party where Matthew was the center of attention. It was a Jake and the Neverland Pirates theme, and the kids loved breaking a pinata of Jake and doing arts and crafts. It was a lot of work preparing for the party, and I definitely complained a lot about all that needed to get done, but it was worth all of the frustration and aggravation because he had a wonderful time with his aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins. Happy first birthday buddy! I love you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


This morning I woke up feeling a little down thinking that my baby isn't really a baby any more.

He will turn one a week from tomorrow, and I cannot believe it. I feel like he just got here.

I remember so vividly the moment he was placed in my arms for the first time, and yet, this first year has been kind of a blur. I recall snippets of time that melted my heart, but I wish I could capture the memories over this past year - the best one of my life - in a bottle so that I will always remember exactly his newborn smell; his first smile; his first laugh; the first time he rolled over, crawled and walked; the first time he said mama and dada; the moment when he and Marley became best friends. The list goes on and on. I'll never have these firsts with him again, and a part of me is a little sad that I won't get those moments in time back.

Each day Matthew does something new to amaze me, and I am so proud of the little boy he is becoming. He's sweet and easy going. He makes me laugh daily, and his growing personality show little nuances of both Eric and myself. I look forward to seeing the man he becomes - just not so fast.

As much as I love watching him grow and explore new things, I miss the days where he would cuddle with me for hours on end. Now, he wants to run all over the place, chase Marley, climb the stairs, jump on dada, and blow raspberries on mama. He also loves to escape during diaper changes, give me love bites (I'm working on nipping that in the bud) and terrorizing Marley by ripping out clumps of her hair and sticking his fingers up her nose. That dog that was so crazy as a puppy really makes me proud of the dog she has become. She happily lets Matt terrorize her, and although she does get jealous that Matt has taken away some of her attention, she's so good with him. He goes WWE on her constantly, jumping on her and pinning her when she least expects it and she just wags her tail harder when he gives her Matthew hugs. The growing bond and friendship between them makes me smile.

Monday, September 8, 2014

This time last year...

This time last year I was miserable, fat and antsy to meet my little one.

This time last year, I was getting as much work done so that I could enjoy my maternity leave and not have to worry about what was going on at the office.

This time last year, I was having one last ultrasound of my baby to make sure everything was a-okay and he or she (didn't know the gender at this point) was healthy -estimated to be about 7.3 lbs at 38 weeks in utero - and about to make his debut. My how times have changed.

Yesterday, I took my almost one year old grocery shopping. It's one of his favorite activities. He loves to ride in the cart, wave to other customers and babble down every aisle we go. I have a normal conversation with him, talking about what we should buy and ask him what flavors he'd like. He responds in baby talk that I don't quite understand, but it's a great conversation nonetheless, because it's great mommy and Matty time. In fact, we had a lot of mommy and Matty time this weekend, and it was THE BEST!

On Friday, Matt and I went to an impromptu play date. I shopped for make up and Matty played with other toddlers at the party. He isn't really into playing with other kids yet, so he basically kept to himself and played with a wooden toy duck, but he enjoyed himself and when he got tired, he reached up and nuzzled my hair until it was time to go.

On Saturday, I took a mommy time out for a couple of hours to go shopping and  meet baby Emerson - one of my best friend's new baby boy. He's gorgeous and such a tiny little peanut. I tried to remember Matthew being that small and, to be honest, it's a little fuzzy. I mean I remember him being a newborn, but at the same time I don't. It is the strangest thing, because this has been the quickest and longest year of my life. One study says that it's normal for moms to "forget" the newborn stage, because if we remembered it all we may not have more babies. But I didn't mind the newborn stage, so why don't I remember it very clearly? It's a conundrum.

Later Saturday night, Matt and I watched cartoons, played chase and laughed in hysterics at each other. I, of course, captured much of it with my iPhone... sorry for clogging up your Facebook and Istagram feeds, but I couldn't help myself. He is just too darn cute. 

He is growing up so fast. I just wish time would stand still for just a little while, so that I can enjoy my baby a little longer before he turns one and is a pre-toddler.