Monday, October 27, 2014

He Never Serves Vegetables

There's a theme in our house that our children like me, but they LOVE David. And yes, there was a time when it hurt my feelings.

But I've wised up.

Because the more time they want to spend with Daddy, the more time I get to spend in sweet, blessed, glorious solitude.

Plus, he's the best at blowing tummy raspberries.

And, in general, up for more shenanigans.
That's two things all kids love, right there: raspberries and shenanigans.

Plus, when David is in charge, he always makes Kraft mac & cheese, and he never serves vegetables. The kids just really appreciate that.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Last Two Hours

At ten o'clock tonight, Sunday night, David and I finally sat down on the sofa. Drinks in hand.

He looked at me and said "Hey. The weekend starts now."

If there are 48 hours in a weekend, then this weekend about 46 of them were filled with kids, chaos, chores, projects, friends, and not nearly enough sleep.

But it's okay, because the next two hours will consist of ONLY this
and this.

James Spader and David. An excellent way to spend the weekend.

Or, at least the last two hours of it.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Rosie's First Bites

Since Rosie's new tooth has caused us nothing but sorrow and sleeplessness thus far, we decided it would make make everyone feel better if we put that sharp little chomper to work. Give the whole experience a little purpose, you know?

First solid food day!

Those are bananas that you see smeared over all reachable surfaces, and she LOVED them. This makes her the first Williamson child to not act as if I was poisoning them when introducing them to food. A win for Rosie. Henry and Maggie were total drama queens.

The next night we tried avocados & bananas and she was again impressed. But her favorite part of eating so far?

Totally the spoon. Babies love the spoon.

My best advice for starting your baby on solid foods? Have 17 spoons on hand at each feeding. You'll need 'em all.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Peanuts & Quacks: The Update

This is another one of those been-sitting-in-drafts-folder posts, that I'm FINALLY getting around to, thanks to forcing myself to post SOMETHING every day this month.

And when I say this one is overdue, I mean like, years overdue. If it were a library book, they would have made me buy it by now.

Back in July of 2012, I posted about discovering that Baby Henry had a peanut allergy, and about the allergist we began seeing who was willing to put Henry in his oral-immunotherapy trial. I got more feedback than I had ever gotten on any post at the time, and so the very next day, I wrote another post, saying thank you to everyone for being so awesome and supportive, and I PROMISED that I would update you on how things went.

Fast-forward aaaalmost 2.5 years.

Thank you for waiting. You have been so kind. I will not make you wait any longer. I'll tell you the end of the story first: with the help of our doctor and the makers of Reese's Pieces, The Hankster did officially overcome his peanut allergy.

Here he is, eating his first ever PBJ at home, on April 13, 2013, about 9 months after starting the therapy:

Hallelujah, am I right?

So, I'm sure for many of you that's enough of an update; Henry is safe around peanuts, praise the Lord & pass the peanut butter.

But, for those of you who care about the details, here's a run-down of how it went.

We started seeing the allergist and did the initial oral challenge test in July of 2012, when Henry was 2 years old. (If you weren't around then, you can read more about how we made the decision to take this therapy route here.)

Here are some things I did know at the time: I knew that the trials had had great, groundbreaking success thus far. I knew that Henry did NOT have one of the more extreme allergic reactions, and so had an even greater chance of success. And, I also knew that I really wanted to at least TRY to do something, anything, other than pack Epi-Pens and live in fear of cross-contamination and anaphylaxis.

What I did NOT know, was that at that time Henry was the youngest child to ever undergo oral immunotherapy for a peanut allergy. UM, GULP, WHAT? Our allergist mentioned it in passing several months into the therapy, and I literally felt dizzy I was so caught off guard.

In retrospect, it was probably a small miracle that I didn't know about that lil' detail, because it very likely might have made me not want to do the therapy, or wait until he was older to do it, and I'm just really glad we did it and it's done. Plus, now he's totally famous. Roll out the red carpet.

I feel silly even referring to it as 'therapy' because other than the initial oral challenge tests and the final oral challenge tests, which took place in Very Serious Watchful Doctor's Offices with a syringe full of epinephrine nearby, this oral immunotherapy business consisted entirely of me handing my toddler candy every day. Which just doesn't feel super MEDICAL, you know?

For the first month, we gave him 1 Reese's Piece every day. (about 600mg of peanut protein)

Then for another month, we gave him 2 every day.

Then for another month, 3 every day.

Then for another month, 4 every day.

Then for another month, 5 every day.

At this point, he was starting to get really entitled about his daily candy fix. And I was also eating a lot of Reese's Pieces with him. Solidarity.

But, doctor's orders, we continued giving him 5 Reese's Peices every day for 6 months.

In April of 2013, we headed back into the allergist for his final oral challenge test. You, know, to see if it worked.

The idea was that repeated, continuous exposure to small amounts of peanut protein would teach his immune system that it was a safe protein, and that it didn't need to react. (This is the same general idea behind allergy shots, btw.) So, in theory, he should now be able to now ingest much larger quantities of the protein with no problem, since his immune system is now super smart and knows not to freak out.

The first thing they did, just like during his initial oral challenge tests, was weigh him and load up a just-in-case shot of epinephrine. (Be still my mommy heart.) Then, they very carefully measured out however many grams of peanut butter is medically required to be declared allergy-free (I don't remember... about two tablespoons worth? a little more?) and then smeared it on a slice of Wonderbread, slapped another slice on top and handed my now-3-year-old baby a peanut butter sandwich.

A PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICH. Guys, I about had a panic attack.

Even though I myself had been voluntarily feeding him peanut butter for months, there was just something about the casual way they handed it to him, and the fact that it was SO MUCH PEANUT BUTTER, I was just absolutely positive we were going to the ER that day.

But nothing happened.

He ate the whole dang sandwich, and then he asked the nurse if she had any other snacks.

And then nothing else happened. Nothing. No hives. No wheezing. No epinephrine. No ER. We sat in that doctor's office for the required three hours and nothing happened.

I said it once, and it seems appropriate to say it again: Praise the Lord and pass the peanut butter!

The way the doctors talk about it is that Henry has 'overcome' his peanut allergy. We don't carry epi-pens anymore, he hasn't had any more hives or swelling since beginning the therapy, and peanuts can safely be incorporated into his diet. He does need to be sure that peanut remains a regular part of his diet (at least once or twice a week,) just in case his immune system might resensitize. This is no problem, since PBJ's are like, the best lunch ever. They did also tell us to take caution with very large amounts of peanut butter, so if he wants to eat a giant slice of peanut butter pie, or be like his mother and eat half a jar of PB with apples and celery and pretend it's healthy, he can, but we should just watch him closely and have Benadryl on hand for the possibility of a mild reaction.

It's so funny how experience works, but at the time, all of this peanut business was SUCH A HUGE DEAL TO ME. I cried when he was diagnosed with an allergy, I agonized over the therapy decisions, I could never sleep the night before an oral challege test, and EVERY time we went up another Reese's Piece, I was jittery and hoverey all day.

And now a few years have passed, and I have to think so hard to remember the details of what we did and when and why and how. Now, I hand Henry peanut butter without even thinking about it. The kid ate a pumpkin-shaped Reese's cup yesterday and the only thing I thought was, "Dang, I want one."

I'm so incredibly thankful that we found this allergist, that he was willing with work with Henry, and that we've been able to avoid all the stress and worry that comes from living with serious food allergies. Well, I'm so thankful when I remember it. Because, honestly, mostly I forget it even happened. Which is probably another thing to be thankful about.

Henry's preschool this year is nut-free because they have several kids with severe allergies, and guys, I can't even tell you how over-the-mooon-happy I am to cooperate. We wash hands and faces before coming into the classroom, I read those snack-food labels like it's my job, and I've nixed peanut butter as part of breakfast on school mornings, just to be safe.

Because, we get it. We feel you. It's scary stuff. We're really, really thankful our kid is safe, and we're more than happy to do everything we can to help keep your kid safe, too.

OH, and that Epi-Pen Jr.? I kept it until we moved. And then I threw it away. With great satisfaction.

Praise the Lord and pass the peanut butter!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

First Tooth Day!

See this ball of cute?
After spending yesterday afternoon being Miss CrankyPants, and then spending the entire night using me as a human pacifier, (until I finally caved and gave her Baby Tylenol,) she awoke this morning with her very first ever, brand spankin' new tooth.

We knew it was coming, because she's been chewing on things frenetically, producing enough drool to float away on, and making this funny overbite face that is a classic new-tooth tell for my kiddos.

But those TEETH, man. When they come in, they just hurt everybody.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Not The Summer I Imagined

This post has been sitting in my drafts folder for awhile (as posts tend to do around here.) Mostly because I have mixed feelings about this past summer. There were so many great and wonderful things, like our family vacation, and buying our first home, but as I've mentioned before it was also a hard summer for me. I felt very overwhelmed, and very postpartum, and very chaotic, and between buying a house, and moving, and adjusting to life with three bambinos, it just wasn't the summer I imagined. It just wasn't the summer I had hoped for. It just wasn't the summer I had planned. 

There were no camping trips like I planned, there was no beach trip like I planned, there were no trips to visit family in NC like I planned, or family in GA like I hoped, I didn't teach Henry to swim like I hoped to, I didn't go see friends in Norfolk like I had planned, and I never did quiiiite get the tan I had dreamed of. And, I only read one book all summer. One.

So, I've put off writing this post, because I just don't quite know what I want to say about this summer. But then, this morning, I clicked on the draft I had marked as "Summer", and scrolled through the handful of pictures left over from those warm, sunny, insanely busy months, and you know what? 

If I just forget about what I had IMAGINED the summer was going to be like, and just focus on what it actually WAS, then all of sudden, it looks pretty darn good.

Possibly, pretty darn great.

Moving face. Note the pile of boxes to be packed behind me.
first sleepover! with Whit!

homeowners, yo.

last day in our old house, last ice cream in our old neighborhood

I think the kids had a pretty good time, at least.

But next year, we're going camping. And to the beach. And I'm teaching Henry AND Maggie to swim. I really mean it this time! I really do!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Hat Came Back

Back in February of 2012, I wrote a post called, What Not To Wear: Toddler Edition, that featured the Most Atrocious Hat I had ever seen. It had come to us as part of a bag of hand-me-downs we received. I hated it. Henry loved it, so I couldn't throw it away. I just 'lost it' a lot.

Well guess what? It's BAAAAAAAACK:

I mean, really. It's an awful hat. But she found it. And, of course, she loves it.

And somehow... I feel like she's maybe pulling it off? Yes?

I vow to never let her wear it out of the house, and I told her so, but when she asked if the backyard counted as out of the house, I told her nah, the backyard was cool. 

But not the front yard. We have neighbors to consider.

To continue the What Not To Wear tradition, I also let Henry wear his oversized, worn out Spiderman shirt today, which he loves, but is forbidden to wear to school, church, or basically anywhere where I care about what people think of my parenting.

Today we just went to the park with my dear friend Lindsay, who I know will not judge me for caving to the dictatorial demands of a four year old. So, Spiderman shirt it is, buddy.

And Rosie, well, see, it doesn't matter what she's wearing, because when your face is THIS CUTE
no one cares if you're clothes are on trend. Live it up, Rosebud.

Pumpkin Patch

These are the only pictures I have of Henry's very first field trip ever, to the Lloyd Family Farms Pumpkin Patch. And, full disclosure, half of them were taken by his teacher.

The reason I don't have more adorably posed photos is because I'm like a crazed pack mule at these things, people.

I've got a baby strapped to my chest, an overpacked diaper bag slung over my shoulder, Henry wants to hold my hand, I'm trying to keep Maggie from climbing a tractor wheel with the other hand, while also trying not to freak out because the pumpkin patch guy just said something about watching out for black widow spiders, and Maggie just told me she needs to pee and there is nothing but pumpkins as far as the eye can see, and now Henry has now found the perfect pumpkin, no that one, no that one, no that one, can he get five, please, can he?

I mean, we had fun. We really did.

Plus, now I can add "in a tractor-pulled wagon" to my list of Weird Places I Have Breastfed A Baby. So that's a bonus.

But, guys, I totes needed a pumpkin beer afterwards. And I didn't take the picturesque photos I had planned.

But David carved the pumpkins with the kids tonight while I made dinner in blissful peace, and tomorrow I plan to take GORGEOUS photos of them with their pumpkins. On our very own front porch. Where a bathroom is always 15 seconds away and there are NO black widow spiders, WTF, pumpkin patch guy.

(I wrote this yesterday, but neglected to edit and post until today. Just in case you're a stickler and want to know if I cheated on my 30 Days deal. I didn't!)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Big Cousins

The way that Henry distinguishes between his cousins on mine and David's side of the family, is by calling the cousins on David's side of the family his Big Cousins.

It's an understandable distinction given that they are all significantly bigger than him. David's two brothers each have four kids, the oldest kid being a sophomore in college, and the youngest kid being in second grade. To a four-year old, that's all big.

Having big cousins is awesome. So awesome.

Having big cousins means that when they come visit, they legit watch my kids for me. I kid you not. They arrive, everyone's all excited, and then all of sudden, all the kids disappear. IT IS AMAZING.
They play outside with them,
they hold babies,
 and they're just fun to have around.
 They're old enough to be trusted, but young enough to know how to have fun,

 But one of the best things about having big cousins,
 is that it gives you someone
 that you want to be just like when you grow up.
I know this, because I had my own big cousins to look up to.  And I'm incredibly thankful that my kids will have such good role-models that they can emulate as they grow up.

But in the meantime, I'll be busy helping the kids count how many weeks until Thanksgiving when they get to see ALL of their big cousins again. They only ask me every day or so.