Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Some Goings Ons

Oh yes, she is FAB! Freeeeeeezing!

Cousins in the pool.

Bryce is in Jail.
Auntie is fixing Maddie, while simultaneously yelling at me to not cut her bangs (I don't, they just grew that way) because her hair looks better without them. I say who cares? She's not even 3 yet.

We've finally been able to start hitting the pool, having barbecues with friends and family, and make final arrangements for our upcoming trip to Omaha. We're all VERY excited to be going. Well, the KIDS and I are excited. Daddy's hanging at home and working, but that is a-okay.
Jack update:
I met with our doc yesterday and Jack is officially OFF all dairy. We may retest his allergies in 2 years, but the doc suspects that he won't grow out of it. For now, we let him have Rice Milk, and soy cheese and yogurt. It tastes kind of gross, but I think in the end we may all wind up being unintentionally a bit healthier, as dairy products are in everything on the market. Check out any crackers, cookies, or other processed packaged goodies. All contain milk or milk powder. Or eggs. It could be worse, we could have to add wheat/gluten to that too and wind up eating nothing except celery and such.
His worst allergy is of all things 'mold'. It's a severe allergy and could cause asthma like symptoms this fall, but we won't know until October how to treat it. Thank goodness we are already the proud owners of a nebulizer, just in case of emergency. I'm also going to start traveling with Benadryl just in cae Jack eats something dairy on accident...since his throat gets itchy and he said it's hard to swallow.
Fortunately, I've found the Vegan food list at Trader Joe's to be helpful, although their soy cheese still contains casein. I'm looking for soy or rice cheese that is completely dairy free, so if anyone knows of anything good, fill me in!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Allergies. Oh what fun

We finally got Jack's allergy test results back and he is officially allergic to milk, eggs and mold. But mold doesn't count. Because, who ISN'T allergic to freaking mold?

I have decided to remove all dairy products from Jack's diet. John thinks I'm going overboard and I'm in panic mode. Well, duh. The kid's throat gets scratchy, and he actually said, "Mom, it feels like when I try to swallow there's something stuck in there." No anaphylaxis on my watch dude. No way.

The hard part is, milk and eggs (not mold) are in pretty much EVERYTHING. Read a label. I haven't figured out if it's the casein protein, or the lactase, but I'm guessing casein because if it were lactase he'd have gas and stomach pains. And diarrhea.

We meet with the doctor Monday to discuss the severity of the allergies, but I'm doing my best. Trying to coordinate meals for 5 people isn't easy. And then, I need to figure out if I should get my other two darlings tested.

If anyone has any good websites, vegan recipes or the like I'd love them! Really!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Boys and the Babies

I was rapid fire shooting pics at the zoo. John, Matt and Craig all grew up and went to the same high school together. Matt has been a fireman in Antarctica, and is currently a fireman in Myrtle Beach. Next summer I may just pick up and go visit. Myrtle Beach sounds nice.
There they are! Jack, Nate, Maddie, John, Bryce, Criag, Brooke, Matt and baby Isabella, or Izzy.
Matt and Izzy. She has a chrome dome too, so they look a lot alike! She is daddy's girl!

We had a great day at the zoo. I've been trying to post dino photos, but I'm having technical difficulties. Oh well. I'm glad we got to see Matt, his lovely daughter and his wife. Matt is one of my favorite people. When John used to travel overseas for work, he would take me on 'dates' to some really spectacular Italian restaurants where movies like High Fidelity and others were filmed.
The best Tiramisu I've ever had in my life was with Matt. He drove a truck for a company that delivered food goods. I went on a run with him, he delivered fresh cream somewhere, we delivered some more, drove back to the first place and dined on what can only be described as manna.
I've missed Matt. I'm glad he came for a visit!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dinosaurs at the Zoo

We had our last baseball game of the season today :-(. And afterwards, we headed straight to the zoo to visit with a very good friend of ours who lives with his wife and 1 year old beautiful daughter in Myrtle Beach. I LOVE Matt. Love him. But I'll write more about him later.

The zoo is doing this dino exhibit. It is so cool. Realistic life sized dinosaurs that are rawring and moving heads and tails and all sorts of neat-o things. It'd be a great exhibit when the zoo is less crowded and I can take my time. For now, this is what I got out of the exhibit.

I'm sort of wondering if falling poop is worse than the kind you can step in?

Or you will be crushed. Dead.

This behind a giant dinosaur butt. The irony is was that they don't have these signs posted anywhere near the elephants. Or the penguin house, which is the smelliest of all. I want to blow this up and put it in the boys' bathroom.

Or you will be eaten, head first.

Okay, she was just cute. But there is also a sign about "No Smoking" with a flying reptile ripping some body's head off. For real. Now THAT'S entertainment.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

So, Uh, What's New?

I am a big fan of people observing. Big, big fan. My latest observations have been in the socially appropriate, or inappropriate manner in which people answer when an acquaintance casually asks, "So, What's new?", or the every populare, 'Hey, how are you?'

Mostly, people who are asking don't really care. The people who DO care are usually close enough friends that they don't need to ask what's new, or how you are doing. I know some people might care, but based on what I'm seeing and hearing, the vast majority ask out of politeness.

Case in point: 2 weeks ago we went to a local farmers market. I was in line at the falafel booth that serves awesome organic vegetarian foods and a woman came up behind me in line, and began a convo with the dude in front of me. "Hey, Bob. How are you". He answered, typically as we all do, "Fine, and you?" And then it began. She actually went on and on about the following.

"Well, I'm better today. I had a sad weekend". (No response from Mr. Fine)
"See, well, my kitty died, and it was a really hard time for me, and then you know, my friend Sue, she has ovarian cancer so I was sad about her but she's all better now after some treatment...blah blah blah".

Mr. Fine didn't care lady...notice the lack of eye contact...and random strangers don't give a shizz about your biz either. I know it sounds harsh, but I didn't care so much for the content of her conversation with herself, as much as I found watching the reactions of others around her. Socially awkward doesn't happen in a day.

Rest assured, dear friends of mine, if I ever ask you how things are, or what you're up to, I truly mean it. I want to hear your answer. For general day to day run ins I may say, "Hi Jane. Having fun here at the grocery store?" Because then I know the answer is short and sweet. Conversely, if you ask me what's new, I'll probably say nothing, because nothing is ever new with us. Well, nothing anyone really cares about anyway. I've been thinking about this forever, trying to come up with some things that are new and interesting in our lives, and to be honest, they're not great conversation pieces. Following are some examples:

New on our agenda...::::::

1.) Jack learned to tie his shoes. I'm so proud of him!

2.) Maddie decided one day about 2 months ago or so that she wanted to go pee in the potty. The rest is history, but she still misses sometimes. I thought my potty woes were mostly boy related. I realize their issues are aim related. Hers is purely anatomical. Still, it's nice not to have to carry a diaper bag anymore.

3.) Nate has started occupational therapy. While I find his eval report interesting reading, I'm pretty sure his dad hasn't even looked at it yet. Mostly because he thinks I'm crazy and can't understand why I even had an eval done, but I was sick of the constant falling, clumsiness, disorganization, and marble mouth. Since we started therapy and he has been put on a brushing protocol, which I have to do 6-8 x's per day, I have seen less falling and his speech is slightly clearer. Coincidence? I think not.

4.) I love Nate's OT. I hand picked her of course, because I think she's fantastic. AND because if John ever gets to sit in on a session, she's really, really good at explaining things to parents who don't know the lingo.

5.) I am now sustaining my runs for 1 hr. 15 minutes and going about 8 miles give or take a half mile here and there. It'd be awesome, but the crap part about building your endurance is that you start to burn calories more efficiently, which means not as many as you used to on the same routes. I'm varying them, and my workouts so I don't plateau, but still. This is a gigantor accomplishment for me, because I never used to run. I used to hate it. And now I am like Forrest Gump.

6.) Nothing is new with John, other than his weight loss of late (why is it SOOOO easy for men!). He's doing great and is the uber republican, which is why I love him. If he ever did something weird and unplanned (like cheering the Sox in the world series) then I would worry, but he is as steady as they come. Thank God, because I'm way more spontaneous, and outgoing and less cautious about oh so many things. Every once in a while-even when it drives me crazy- it is good to have a consistent voice of reason within shouting distance.

So that's our latest. But what do YOU do when someone says, "Hey, what's new?" Are you honest, or do you say, "Nothing, and you?". Do you ever wish you could make something up, like, "Oh, well, our oldest became a circus freak and I'm thinking about a tongue piercing, but I have to wait until my husband returns from his mission trip in Ghana?"

Food for thought. Share. Here, or privately. I'm curious.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Delicious Ballet

John's Dad gets a kick out of Maddie eating chocolate and saying Deeelicious! I think it's kinda cute myself, and yes, for the record, I know she looks odd in a t-shirt and sundress. Daddy got her dressed this morning and it was some sort of battle.

And no, I don't know why my kids like to show their butts lately in every photo op. They're just weird that way. And they're all mine!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

When Summer Chooses To Grace Us With Her Presence

Today is another crappy, rainy, blah de blah day. I HATE this weather. I HATE this summer. Where are the strings of 9o plus humidity so high you can't breathe, but it feels good to be alive outside? Ugh. I just want to turn the heat on today, for me it is that cold. I HATE being cold.

My flowers are barely blooming from lack of sunshine. But when summer comes, it's good enough to ride the new splash bomb waterslide thingy majiggy.

Complete with ramps and a speed board.

You go Nate!

She doesn't ever ride the ramps, just stands in the shallow 'pool' water and splashes around. Whatever floats her boat. Come on summer, I'm waiting!

Monday, July 06, 2009

My Dad Is Cooler Than Your Dad

Sometimes, I want to chant that to my kids, but then I'm like, well, that's not only weird, it's just mean. And while John has his endearing qualities, my dad can just, for lack of better wording do stuff that he can't. Like build houses and finish sidewalks (he can finish crete as a specialty), and jimmy rig pretty much everything. Don't get me wrong, John can do cool stuff too, like financial planning, and our taxes, and even installing ceiling fans, but, well, you'll see....

For the record, I have inherited maybe three things from my dad: 1.) my height, 2.) my love of books and the irrational urge to buy more books the second we step into a book store even though we have 18 unread books piled next to our nightstands and 3.) we are food/beer/wine snobs. We likes the good stuff.

One of the biggest deficits in my genetic makeup is the ability to just look at something and be like, "Oh, well, I could make that" and then do it. So, I present to you, my dad's latest project: Castle Greyskull.

Oh yes. Remember He-Man from the 80's? Jack plays with my brother's 'dolls' (okay, action figures, whatever!) and wanted his own "Castle Greyskull". You can start bidding on them on e-bay for $10, or, you can go to Ikea, decorate an odd nook in your house with a little chair, take the big cardboard box the chair came in to your dad, and say, "Look, it's perfect for a Castle Greyskull".

This is what the result may be. Which, I'm pretty sure cost more in labor and spray paint than what you can find on e-bay,but this is so much cooler. Hey, I still have the doll house my grandpa made me....same concept.
If you look closely, the words Jack C are spelled out in the brick. I'll have to try and get better picture. So freaking cool. This is the back, Jack and my dad deocorated together. Check out the brick detail.

The front of the castle. My dad added the knob on the drawbridge just to make the stinkng thing easier to open. I woulda been like, "I don't see a problem, just use your fist and punch it out," because it's a fairly accurate drawbridge.

The "real" plastic version you can buy. Ours is waaaaay cooler, don't you think?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Nate's First Dental Exam-First Stop on the Road to "Many Moresville"

That's the cute smile I'm trying to preserve with our first visit to the dentist. Jack, Nate and I all had cleanings. I LOVE getting my teeth cleaned. I'm so weird about my teeth, I sooo want to me the lady in the nursing home with all of my own teeth. That and I don't ever want to have a heart attack brought on by plaque buildup. It can happen you know.
He was so annoyed with the sunglasses, because the dentist office has flatscreens in every exam room and we got to watch some hideous Fairly Oddparent cartoon. Taboo at home, crack when we think mom's not watching what we do, or caring, at any rate. Look, he's barely registering the white light in his eyes because he's trying desperately to crank his head to see the t.v.

Little kid in a big chair...he'd better get used to it, since he doesn't just have 3 cavities, he's got major craters which need repairing.
The hygenist tried to get me to own up to giving him juice, which I only allow as a treat in the summer when it's so hot and they won't drink anything else. We're not juice junkies here, but apparently, giving him Starbursts and Tootsie Rolls to help with his oral motor issues (ie: speech therapy needs) hasn't been the greatest. Up one side and down the other I suppose.

The next step is taking him to a pediatric dentist, who by the way, are considered "specialists" and charged differently on insurance. The nearest one to me, according to my insurance is about half an hour away, and I'll have to take him in for a consult and then later for the job. Our regular dentist even referenced him possibly needing some sort of kiddie root canal the one tooth is so jazzed up, so I'm hoping that when Nate gets gassed for the procedure I can get me a hit of it too, since I'll be the one dealing with him in pain.
I also discussed with the dentist Nate's thumb sucking. Do you want to know what our hundreds dollars -worth- of- an -appointment -and- God- knows -how -many -years- of -college -it- took- us- to- come- to -this -conclusion suggestion was? "Well, mom, you could try putting hot sauce on it." Brilliant doc, is that why you make the big bucks, to tell me something that is in probably no less than 12 parenting magazines and probably considered abusive in this day and age? Please.
To quote a great man, (my dad) "Jenny, alcohol was invented for people like you". Uh huh, and days like the ones I'm about to encounter with my 4 year old getting mini root canals. It'll numb my pain at least.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Playing with The Camera

On Sunday I got quite the tutorial on my camera and how to use it from my friend Jen who takes really sweet photos. So I got home and started practicing with ISO's and the triangle of perfect pictures and white balance and all that. I'm slowly getting the hang of taking pictures in the preference setting and not relying totally on fully automatic.

Observe: My first pepper. Same picture, different shutter speed, and I think I put the setting on "cloudy" so that I could see how the colors changed.

The boys were playing ball, and I changed the setting to an artificial lighting setting, so they turned kinda blue.
This one turned out okay, but as luck has it, I cannot remember the setting I put it on. Figures.

I think I put this on some sort of half light setting, and he came out a bit orangey. I just find it interesting considering he was blue before.

Still looking for help and ideas if anyone has them on how to use this wonderful piece of machinery. I will still probably continue to use the automatic settings, since my photos haven't turned out to badly from that!