preschool safety and occupation demo

Aaron does a really neat kid-friendly demo for the kids’ classes and it was Greta’s preschool’s turn for theirs. I couldn’t make it to see the presentation but I heard from the teachers and kids that he was quite a hit. He talks to the kids about elevators and electricity and escalator safety. I heard the kids had a lot of questions about fires and airplanes. Gotta love 4 year olds. The director took these photos and shared them on the school’s blog but since it’s for parents’ only I thought I would copy them hear for you to see. He harnessed Greta all up in gear and then hung her from the climbing structure and told her to try and get away. She was pretty thrilled to participate in his presentation. After, Aaron gave all the kids stickers and I heard that was a hit too, especially the really violent stickers. Like hands stuck in gears, and heads being crashed down on by tools. Fortunately I didn’t get any calls from parents about the violent nature of these stickers.

Maternity Session- Jessica & Carl

I’m sorry I am late on posting my sister’s maternity session. And then I have to post another newborn session that I’m late on as well. I was with the baby yesterday and he’s already a month old! Oops. But they are coming and he’s delicious. Maybe not as delicious as my Romeo, but a close second. 🙂 I can’t believe the little bean that was in this belly is now here and has our whole lives turned upside down. I love it that something so small can change everything in the blink of an eye. And trust me, all those sleepless nights will be worth it. I had a sleepover with Romeo this weekend and boy is he a bad roomie to have. Just kidding. I secretly loved the snuggles and the time in the rocking chair so mama and daddy could try and get a few extra zz’s. It even made me acting and feeling like a dead person the next day totally worth it.  I have a feeling that he and I will have more of these nights together trying to stay as quiet as possible for the parents in the room next door. Just maybe it will turn into he and I staying up and telling stories and funny jokes to each other while we still think mama and daddy are sleeping next door. Oh I have plans for this boy and me. If you would like to see more pictures from my sister’s maternity shoot, check out my photography blog.

allergy testing

Last Tuesday was the big day I have been waiting for, part anxious, part dread. I had all 3 kids with me and I didn’t know exactly what it would be like but I just prepared the kids and pretty much threatened their lives to behave and explained this was very important for Sawyer. The weeks leading up to this we had multiple conversations with the kids about the possibility of Sawyer being allergic to dogs and what that would mean for Lola. We knew that if he was allergic to her we couldn’t choose to keep her since I felt that was sacrificing Sawyer’s health. But we all crossed our fingers and toes it would be something much different like grass or soy or pollen or dust mites.

He was a trooper through the whole test and laughed at parts since he said it tickled. The lower down the nurse got on his back the more he felt it and he flinched a few times. The left side of his back were common things like cats, dogs, pollen, dust mites, soy, dairy, grass, and so on. The right side was shellfish. Scallops, lobster, crab, shrimp, you name it.

She didn’t tell us what each particular thing was as she applied it to his back so we all kind of sat there and wondered, however when I saw the right side all puff up immediately I knew that side was shellfish. And then when two little hives appeared on the right side right next to each other I had my suspicions it would be cats and dogs but I didn’t say anything.

Here’s what he looked like 5 minutes into it. We had to wait 15 minutes, and he was very itchy and uncomfortable at this point.

The spot next to number 15 should have been the biggest thing he reacted to if he had no allergies. That was a histamine they scratched him with to make sure no benadryl was in his body, so if that’s the strongest allergy they tried to induce, you can compare that to all the other hives. The largest one of the right was shrimp. Since this was my first time I thought maybe that’s just a normal size allergy but when they measured it they were surprised at how strong his reaction was to it. In fact, he’s so allergic that she recommends that whenever we eat shellfish we should try and not sit next to Sawyer. I am in fact the owner of several Epipens now. She trained me on how to use it and assured me I probably wouldn’t have to use it ever, but just in case the need arises, it’s always better to be prepared. She highly doubts this is an allergy he will grow out of.

You don’t see the lines down the left side of his lower back in the picture, but those we are all flat, no reaction. Thank goodness. Those were foods that she tested him for and I was dreading that he would be allergic to something like gluten or dairy. I was very relieved at those results.

Immediately when the kids saw that he was allergic to dogs they were pretty upset. At first all I felt was relief because he is allergic to things I can actually control. Which means that my son doesn’t have to be on daily allergy medication. Later it hit me that Lola wasn’t going to be a part of our family anymore. We had in place a backup plan for her and she is so happy with Sawyer’s first grade teacher. Which also means we can still visit her and even take her camping with us. Lola is loved and spoiled to death over at her house and she has two retired parents so they get to spend the day with her. We couldn’t ask for a better situation given the circumstances. But it didn’t make it any easier saying goodbye. Aaron probably took it the hardest and I should’ve expected that since he’s her primary caregiver. We definitely feel a void in our home but when I look at what we will gain and how Sawyer already is looking and feeling so much better, it’s a sacrifice we had to make.

I decided the quicker the better and the less drama filled it would be, so that evening we packed up her things and after the kids were in bed Aaron drove her over. Whenever we go on vacation she stays there and so it really is like a second home for her. We had no tearful, drawn out sob fests with the kids, we just told them that we’d see her soon and thank goodness she was going to live with someone we know so well. The following morning was very hard for me and I wore sunglasses most of the day because out of nowhere I would start to tear up. I think the man at Feast From the East thought I was a little crazy when I started to cry as I paid him for my salad. 😦

Gunnar is going to be tested next week and I can only hope he too is allergic to dogs. I know this sounds very odd, but it will make me feel so much better to know that Sawyer won’t one day later on blame himself or feel guilty for having to give up Lola. If both of them are allergic then there’s no one who can feel bad.

I asked the allergist, who we love by the way, and if you need a referral, please let me know! By the way, I should’ve bought stock in Vanicream. So many of you are now using it and love it. I love that we can share the things that work for us! Back to the story, I asked the allergist why, after four and a half years is Sawyer developing allergies to Lola. She truly believes that the shellfish reaction he had a few months ago in a restaurant (shrimp) followed by a second reaction a few months later to something he usually eats and has no problem with (calamari) triggered this. He probably always was sensitive and had mild allergies to her but this triggered it in his body where he no long could battle it. So that’s our story and I will keep you posted about Gunnar and his allergy testing. I have a feeling his is more seasonal and it won’t be something I can necessarily prevent. I believe his has something to do with trees or pollen, but we will see. Thank you to everyone who already checked in on us and for all the wonderful comments on facebook about Sawyer. We are hanging in there.

i’m inlove with another man

Sorry for the little break here on the blog, but I can’t bring myself to be away from him for very long. He’s like a drug. All I can think about is when I can see him next and for how long. I’m exhausted too, not because I’m really doing any work but because I have pushed aside everything that has to be done around the house and cram it in the few moments I find myself home. Because really, none of that matters at the moment. What matters is holding that little bundle in my arms and snuggling him and taking him all in. Each moment I get with him.

I can’t really type about the birth and seeing my sister give birth because I have cried too much this week and recounting it will be emotional for me. I wasn’t emotional then, but ever since, I find myself crying every moment I am alone. It’s quite powerful to see your sister become a mother. And it was strange for me to be on the other side of the experience. I now understand why she bawled for days after Gunnar’s birth. It makes total sense now. I love him as I love my own children. I don’t think there is anything that quite compares to having your own child other than your sister having a child. I can say that I am so proud of her and the person she has become since that one moment. It truly changes you and my heart is so swollen with pride and happiness.

They are doing fabulous and I will be back soon with her maternity photos. I can’t really post photos of the baby yet til I post her maternity session! But I do have a pre written post about Sawyer’s allergy appointment that I will post tomorrow. Be back next week with more baby loving goodness!

vitamins

Just curious what everyone gives their kiddies for vitamins?  This last week was the first time Greta has been sick with other than a stuffy nose since school started. And with it being a new school with new kids she hasn’t been exposed to ever, I think that’s pretty good. Sawyer and Gunnar have had colds throughout the year but nothing like what we endured last week. Greta’s fever lasted 4 days and was accompanied with a horrible cold followed by an ear infection. Sawyer just had a fever for a day and half followed by a mild cold. Gunnar so far hasn’t had a thing.

Our regimen for my kids daily is(all found at Whole Foods): Chewable multi vitamins by Solaray, the kids don’t love the taste but I am trying to avoid the gummy bear vitamins that have sugar in them, they take a chewable vitamin C (just a regular Whole Foods brand), chewable probiotic called FloraBear (Sawyer receives a double dose of this daily), and chewable Omega3/6/9 by Nordic Naturals for their little brains. That is what they take every single day when they are healthy.

When they are sick they take all their normal vitamins and in addition I double the Vitamin C dose and recently added the Vitamin D3 once a day. This was tricky to introduce them to this week since it’s not chewable and they had to learn how to swallow it whole with a sip of water. So far so good and we have had no gagging moments. When they are sick I also push smoothies on them a lot for nutrients and hydration but avoid dairy in them, they are more slushies than smoothies since there isn’t that creamy consistency. This week was filled with things like fresh grapefruit, water, ice, fruit ice which is delicious and from Whole foods (little frozen pops I drop in the blender that have delicious blends of coconut and passionfruit or mango), powder Spirulina for protein since my kids aren’t the best protein eaters when they are sick, a little bit of Emergen-C, and frozen berries usually blueberries for antioxidants and a splash of apple juice. They really taste delicious and the kids down them quickly and it gives me piece of mind that they are still getting their nutrients and good stuff even if they aren’t eating a whole lot.

Vitamins are expensive for sure. And I go back and forth on the whole food version vitamins versus the regular multiple ones. With three kids we go through 17 vitamins each and every day when they are healthy. So you can imagine that those little bottles don’t last me very long. I guess we spend about between $40-55 each month on vitamins alone(this is including Emergen-C packs from Trader Joe’s). And when we’re sick I can guess those numbers are higher. Fortunately we aren’t sick very often or else we’d be in the poorhouse.

What’s your daily regimen for your kids? Just a multi? Chewable? Liquid? Am I missing any other goodies I could be giving them?

mini gardening update

today will be a lazy day. by lazy i mean sawyer didn’t wake up until 10:45 this morning! he went to bed at 8pm and slept straight until then. but the good news is sleep does a body good because he is feeling so much better. i know this because he is fighting with his siblings, that’s always a good sign. well, good in that he’s well enough to fight i guess. i stayed in my own pajamas until almost 10. greta is almost completely back to normal and all i can do is cross my fingers and toes that gunnar will stay well and not get the same virus. aaron picked up some vitamin D3 at whole foods and we are all taking it for immune support and they say it will cut the effects of the flu. so far so good.

during this lazy day we do have a few plans, garden planning and bed making. we took apart the boys bunk beds and are trying to build them new beds ourselves, side by side. so far it’s been okay. just a little labor intensive.

we are learning what will grow well together and we have two large beds to plant, one deep and one a little shallower. we are going to put tomatoes in the ground and hope that they take over the area we are designating for them. so far we have one bed planned out, it will have basil, oregano, scallions, carrots, cilantro, snap peas, lettuce, and spinach. The deeper bed we are more stumped on. Aaron wants corn, and from what I’ve read it should be grown alongside beans or sunflowers, but he doesn’t want beans and sunflowers seem pointless. So I’m not sure what will go in that one.

Here’s a few iPhone photos of our flourishing plants. The brussel sprouts have stumped me. I’m not sure what they’re doing. They have little brussel sprout buds but seem to have been frozen now that the buds appear. Our strawberries are doing amazing, and we really haven’t done a thing to them. We planted them in an old Radio Flyer wagon that was sitting around, placed it in the sun and water it when it seems dry, and we have a strawberry already almost ready to be picked and tons of little ones growing.

Our rosemary is going crazy, anyone want to come over for fresh rosemary? Let me know!

I think I’m most proud of this here little broccoli guy. We love him.