Our family is growing in many ways... Growing in numbers, knowledge, parenting skills, growing in love, in our faith, growing our culinary skills (if you can call it that), growing without gluten (some of us), growing green...........

Friday, October 30, 2009

I'm falling way behind on my posts lately, and I have a bunch that I am intending to get up...one of these days. We've been sick with colds lately, for one thing. Aiden got a nasty cold while we were visiting family not long ago. He was well for, I'm not kidding, two days when he caught another cold! This one was courtesy of big brother, bringing germs home from school, I suppose. He has a hard time taking seriously warnings such as "stay out of Aiden's face," "don't touch his food!" (hello?!), etc, etc. I think seeing how quickly Aiden got sick and how bad this cold was helped. And then I caught it, of course. When Aiden is sick, he tends to sleep as close to me as possible...as in, he hugs my neck and puts his nose and mouth right up next to mine! How could I NOT get sick?! But it's impossible to stay away because having me so close helps him, which is too important to me, especially when it helps him get to sleep...and we both need that badly! I'm currently trying to keep it from turning into a sinus infection...not sure how successful I am quite yet. It's questionable.

And we recently had a death in the family. My grandmother (my stepdad's mother), Grandma Strode, just passed away last weekend. We knew it was going to be soon, but it was sooner than expected. We're currently in Kentucky. We made it in time to go to the funeral. Ever notice how that is such a good way to see extended family that you haven't seen in a while. Sad circumstances, yes. But it's always great that everyone shows up (which is how it should be) and comes together to be there. We got to meet a couple new family members - my step-brother's new baby boy, Loxley, and my step-sister's even newer baby girl, Ella. Plus, we didn't make it to Christmas at with my step-dad's family last year because we needed to be with Ryan's grandmother who was in the hospital and close to passing away, so it was nice to see everyone and let them meet Mr. Aiden. Aiden and Grandma Strode had actually been able to meet. We stopped and visited this summer when we were coming to Kentucky. We wanted to spend some time with Grandma while we had the chance - and we really wanted her and Aiden to meet. I'm so glad we made that happen! You can't wait on that kind of stuff because you don't always have "next time."

Aiden trying to share a toy with Grandma Strode

So, we came to Kentucky for the funeral and to be with family, but we're also staying for Halloween since we're already here and Ryan won't miss any extra work because of it. He already had to take off through Friday for all the traveling - a full day on the road each way - so we figured why not stay and relax a bit instead of rushing back. I'm taking advantage and trying to rest up a little to get well. I don't really feel like sleeping until 10am counts as "sleeping in" if I don't get to sleep until 1 or 2am because I am sick and then am up every hour or two with a sick or hungry baby.

And we're not really getting to relax too much with the boys underfoot. Aiden, who remembered he could manuever steps last time we visited family, has decided he can now go down all on his own, too. So he tries to practice that as much as he can. I think he's more comfortable practicing at both my mom's and Ryan's mom's because they each have some areas that just have one or two steps separating rooms. That means we have to stay right with him, esp when every now and then he sits down to slide down the step...and he's not quite in the right position. He gets it right most of the time, but...

So, we'll get back into our regular routine sometime. Surely. We've also been having some naptime struggles with Aiden, and I'm really hoping to kick into gear and get him back on track - or on some kind of track! - once we get back home and things calm down. I think all the traveling and all the colds this past month haven't helped with things. And sometimes he needs one nap a day and sometimes two... It's been fairly frustrating and time-consuming. We'll figure something out. Hopefully. (And hopefully soon!)

Anyway, that's the story with us lately. A very busy time, and blogging has just had to take a backseat, whether I wanted it to or not.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Allergy Confirmation and Update

We took Aiden to the allergist on Tuesday and got some definite answers. We already knew what we would find out, but confirmation is a great thing.

First of all, we were very impressed with the doctor. We went to Duke Allergy, Asthma, and Airway Center (which is beautiful with a huge pond that goes right up to the walkway around part of the building...almost level with it...and a fountain that Aiden would watch from the huge window in our exam room), and when the doctor came in to see us, he had clearly read through Aiden's entire history very thoroughly. He knew all about his IP diagnosis and discussed that with us some - usually we have to tell doctors about this, and they often have not heard about it. He really impressed us with that and then with his knowledge of up-to-date things concerning allergies and research. This guy was really on top of his game. And he was great at what he did and answered all of our questions thoroughly and patiently. (In case you didn't expect this, I am one of those that goes into appointments with a list of questions and things to discuss... Surprised?! Probably not.)

Anyway, moving on... First we did the skin test. We had some concerns because while we've heard stories from people with NO problems at all, we've also heard from people that have had all sorts of issues on the other extreme. But the doctor reassured us, and he was right. Aiden never even flinched while the test was being administered. I actually had to ask the nurse if she even pricked his skin! They tested only for egg this time, for various reasons, and did a control for histamine reaction and a control with saline. These tested for possible false positives or false negatives - and Aiden reacted just as you would want, so we were confident with the results from the egg test. He walked all around the hallways shirtless during the test. He obviously was not irritated in the slightest. BUT he also immediately showed a reaction to the eggs.

We talked with the doctor about what all this means, and we also did a blood test and should get those results back next week. He explained to us that with an allergy like this, you go all out with restriction. It's an all-or-nothing approach. That means that even if a food is labeled as being free of eggs but "processed in a factory that also uses eggs"...that food is a big no-no and should be treated as if it has egg in it. Why? Well, you never know if they really do keep things separate. Even if they make a good effort, you never know when you will get a product that just happened to be exposed to the allergen. OR you don't know if Aiden has some tolerance level and will slowly build up to that and then have a bad reaction. This all makes sense. It also cuts out a LOT of foods we thought were ok. (Even if he's had them in the past and has not reacted...keep in mind the reasons I just listed to understand why he can no longer have them.)

Another issue is the flu shot. Now, we've been on the fence about the flu shot(s) for a while now. I won't go into all of that right now b/c that's not what this post is about. BUT the flu shot is cultured in eggs. That doesn't mean he couldn't get the shot. It does mean there is a lot more to deal with to get it. He would have to go to Duke Hospital and get a skin test with part of the vaccine. If that shows that he is ok to get the shot, he then gets 10% of the shot. Wait another half an hour or so...and then he gets the rest. Keep in mind this would be his first time getting the shot, which means two doses. We would have to go through that again. And if we were to give him the seasonal and the H1N1 vaccines...that means 4 visits to do this. And at least two skin tests and 6-8 shots. At the hospital, which is about 40 minutes away. With lots of time waiting while there. That's easy with a toddler, right? And he's not in a high-risk category, especially being at home with me and still being breastfed on demand. You can probably see why we're debating whether to go through all of this with him. Besides, they're out of the vaccine at this moment anyway. Guess we have time to think. Honestly, we're leaning more towards not doing it, though.

As I said, we also did a blood test. After being at the office for over an hour, Aiden was starting to meltdown...getting tired, wanting out of there, wanting to nurse...and then he gets to have blood drawn on top of that. He was PERFECT for the visit for the first two hours, but you can see why he would have a problem with that last part. Why the blood test when we already did the skin test and know the results? They might be able to find out if he is also allergic to cooked egg (which we kind of already know after the test with the cooked muffin on his cheek, but still...). Also, they test his blood level. If a certain result is found, we could do a food challenge (also at the hospital) in 6 months or so. If it does not come out below a certain level, that means we need to wait another year and do the testing over - no food challenge before then.

When we got home, I went through our pantry, separating the foods with eggs (or labeled as being processed by a place that also uses eggs) and foods without. We have a few places to call b/c they don't label well and are in question. But I had a visual showing me that this actually does cut out a lot of foods...a lot we thought would be ok for him. We'll deal. The hardest part will be traveling (maybe more people should just come to us...make it a heck of a lot easier on us!), parties, going out to eat... I've seen what a challenge this can be with my mom and all her food allergies, BUT because of that, I've also seen it is quite possible! So, I know we can do this. We've already tried some egg replacements. Some have worked just great, some ok but not as great...that's how it goes. Some foods just won't be the same but might just have to work! Luckily, Aiden is starting with these restrictions so young that he won't know any better. ;) And odds are good that he will outgrow the allergy by the time he is five years old.

I think I covered it all... If there is more to share after the blood results come back, I'll share then.

I have a few pictures from the visit, but something's up with blogger, so it's taking forever. And it's late - too late already. So, I'll try to post them tomorrow night or Monday. We're off to the zoo tomorrow, so we'll see. If you want to see them now, along with a cute video taken with the camera, click HERE and view the last pictures in the album. The video is of Aiden finding a way to keep entertained while waiting in the exam room. He was so well-behaved! (Up until that last half-hour, of course, but who could blame him at that point?!)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Proving me wrong

Do you ever feel that children are just out to prove their parents wrong? I constantly feel that way...

Yesterday I said in my post that Aiden won't even work with me on going down steps on his bottom or crawling backwards. I've even tried showing him he can scoot off the bed. But he just doesn't pay attention and wants to do things his way.

Well, just this morning, he is lying there next to me on the bed (bright and early, of course). He was on his back and starts kicking his feet like crazy. I'm thinking what is this kid doing??? He was right next to the edge, but we have this thing that goes in between the sheet and the mattress to keep him from rolling off, so he was kicking that but going nowhere because he couldn't get over it. He managed to scoot down enough to get past that and was sliding right off the bed. I grabbed him just in time to help keep him from falling on his face as his feet hit the floor. But he would have been fine without me - I was just surprised!

Then...he did it all over again to show Daddy!

Out of curiosity, I put him on the steps earlier to see if he could come down some of them. He kind of did... He made it down a couple. He would kind of sit and kind of scoot his foot over the edge. Once he gets near the bottom, he just reaches out for the top of the gate and walks down the last couple. I tried again later, and he was just mad, wanting me to hold him, and walked right out - into my arms, of course, since I was there to catch him. But boy he didn't care that he was on the stairs!

Anyway. Totally proving me wrong. As usual. It seems as soon as you say something is a certain way, they up and change it on you.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Catching up...

I've been MIA on the blog for a while, I know... We've been very busy traveling to visit family, dealing with colds and teething (together they are quite fun, let me tell you), pumpkin farms, soccer games, allergy testing, dentist appointments, dead cars... You get the point. Busy!

We spent a week with Ryan's family last week. It was nice to have a little downtime, as much as you can have with a toddler that is into every little thing at a different place with much to explore. ;) My favorite part...with others around to entertain Aiden, I actually got to shower, dry my hair, AND fix my hair every day. Nice. It was also great seeing Aiden interact with all the granparents. He really had a blast! Least favorite...Aiden was up more than once an hour just about every night. We were going to have him sleep in the pack & play while we were in the full size bed. That didn't work, so we were all snuggled close in the bed instead. Aiden was teething with his fourth molar and then he caught a cold...so he also discovered that he loved using half of my pillow to lie on. (He is continuing to love that, as well.) That was all fine. Just meant no sleep for mom. He also was quite clingy at night from the teething, so he practiced sharing...his cold...with me. We did get to have some fun visiting with the grandparents, going to the park, seeing some of Ryan's close friends, and just not having to watch the clock as closely as usual. Plus, we got Camden back! :) He had been to visit his dad for a couple weeks and then was visiting my dad for a few days. It's always great to have him back with us again. AND when picking him up in Kentucky, we spent a couple hours at my mom's to work on Aiden's costume. Yes, that's right, she was able to help make his Bunny costume after all!

While visiting, Aiden decided he would have everyone read books to him over and over - but not sit still for many of them. At home, he'll just sit through entire books, no matter how long. While there, he would sit through a page or two at a time! He also decided he would once again go up stairs. He hasn't even attempted that in quite a while, even with encouragement! And he learned how to go down stairs, too...small ones. He will hold onto the wall and slide his foot over the edge of the step down the front of it, to the floor. When on the big stairs, he forgets to do that and just attempts to walk down! I don't know how others teach their babies to scoot down on their bottoms or bellies...I've tried and he just won't go for that at all.

Once back home, we were thrown back into it all. No easing into it. But we had a fun weekend full of soccer games and a visit to a local pumpkin farm. The farm was a HIT. Lots of fun stuff for the kids - both Camden and Aiden's age. And the tractors were all running on vegetable oil - how cool is that?! We really had a great time and will definitely be going back there again. Anyone local looking for a good place - it's Philip's Farm in Cary. Some info here, and get a coupon here (print up more than one, too!).

Then Ryan's car decided to die. It's finally back on the road again, but it spent a couple days in the driveway first, which complicated life a little bit for a while.

We also had Aiden's big appointment with the allergist. That's for another post so I can focus on that. Not for this smorgasborg...

And today I took both boys to the dentist. Aiden's first dentist visit ever and Camden's first time to this one since we moved. Good news and bad news... Bad news is Camden might need braces soon because the last dentist messed up. We have such bad luck with dentists. Long story, but when he was younger and we were sent to a ped dentist for a cavity (one of those that didn't let the parents back with the kids - I was not comfortable with it from the start and have since NEVER left him alone)...they did a root canal instead (b/c of insurance and money - you can't imagine how furious I was when I found out). Couple years later, that tooth had to be pulled. A space maintainer was put in; it popped out this past spring, and the last dentist said we didn't need another because the next tooth was close to coming in and the other teeth wouldn't move into the space. Apparently that wasn't true, and the teeth are already moving. Sooooo...we get to go to the orthodontist to see what they say. Joy. Good news was Aiden did a FABULOUS job, which wasn't too much of a surprise. The kid loves brushing his teeth! When they laid him back to check his teeth, he just let them...twice. He did get mad and fuss after the dentist pushed on the gums where the molar is coming through. You can't blame him for that!

Sorry if this sounds all jumbled and thrown together. It kind of is.

Instead of posting some pics, here is the album of our pics online. Everything's there. :)
2009 October


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Blogging for Change - Blog Action Day '09: Climate Change

Today I am blogging for Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change. What does that mean? Thousands of bloggers everywhere are blogging about the same issue on the same day, writing based on our individual interests/knowledge/experiences/etc. Learn more about it all here.

My take isn't going to be an in depth discussion about something complicated. No, I think in order for many of us to get involved, things need to be simple, easy. So....in light of that, I want to post on the many different EASY ways to get involved. Lots of little things that can add up to make a big difference. That's how I started...with one little change here and there. Before I realized, we had made MANY changes. I thought I would share some of those little changes for those interested. Please comment with your own to add. I'll try to keep it short and sweet by listing the things we do.

First of all, cleaners are easy to start with... Keep those toxic, bad-for-the-environment as well as bad-for-your home/children/etc. out of your home. It's easy to get non-toxic, biodegradable cleaners that work and work well. I'll share some things we do/use. Some of the things listed might make you wonder what they have to do with the climate...but think in terms of packaging, transportation, waste, etc...

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Homemade green cleaner. This is our go-to cleaner. It is so easy and quick to make; you probably have the ingredients in your home already; and it works so well. Many have told me how much they love this after passing on the recipe. Recipe here.

Biokleen Bac Out. This is the best stain remover I have ever used. I've used it on carpet stains in our old aparment -stains that were there before we moved in and remained there after being professionally cleaned. I put this stuff on and followed the directions, which said to let sit for 5 minutes and blot out. I didn't think it would work, but thought this was a good test. Ummm...totally came out. I've gotten out berries, tomatoes rubbed into clothes by a baby, and so much that otherwise would have never came out. You can even use this with cloth diapers. This stuff works - without scrubbing. You can get it at Kroger's, Whole Foods, many other places.

Dr. Bronner's Soap. What a cleaner this stuff is!!! You can do so much with this stuff - from washing hands, cleaning clothes, household cleaning, body wash, even use it as a toothpaste. Now - I have not personally used it for anything other than cleaning in my house, but I have heard of others who have used it for all of these things. It cuts through it all. We use it to clean the tub by mixing it with a little baking soda to make a paste. You don't ever have to scrub - rub it all over, wait a while, then wipe it off...sparkling clean. You can get this in all sorts of scents. I like citrus. We get ours at Whole Foods. I've heard it's at Target near the makeup aisles.

Baking Soda & Vinegar. These two cleaners can take care of most of your household needs. Really, they can. You can even unclog drains with these two and some boiling water. Try it. No need for those highly toxic cleaners to do that. There is so much you can do with these, I won't even bother going into detail. Try a simple google search - you'll find more than you need to know!

You'd be surprised at what you can use to naturally get rid of pests, too. Any time a single ant has come around, we've used my homemade cleaner to keep the area super, super clean. It works well because it has borax in it. We also sprinkle borax around the area they are coming in - and they stop! They hate that stuff. Here in NC, we can get some really huge spiders in our home. Spiders scare the crap out of me. A friend suggested this to get them out, and it works. Plus, it's fun for the older kids - Camden immediately wanted to use it outside to see spiders and other bugs. No need for a spray in the home, which I wouldn't want around the kiddos.

Green Clean. This is a great book, taking on each room in the house and telling easy ways you can clean your home using green methods. The book itself is waterproof and stain-resistant. Throw it in with all your cleaning products and always have it on hand.

Laundry - We use Country Save, a great biodegradable laundry detergent. Works great, doesn't have ingredients that might irritate those with sensitive skin (e.g. someone with eczema, like some in our family). It's even a top one recommended for cloth diapers. Instead of fabric softener in the dryer, we use dryer balls. Do you know about all the stuff that is found in laundry detergent and softeners...stuff that stays on your clothes. Read up on it sometime. You might want to switch, too. If you really don't want to give up fabric softener, I've heard Ecover is great and can even be used with cloth diapers.

Dishes - We recently made the switch to ecofriendly dish detergent for both handwashing and in the diswasher. We use Ecover. I looked into this a lot before settling on a brand to try, after hearing negative reviews about many brands (from what I've heard, Seventh Generation is not a great one...just fyi). Ecover consistently had wonderful reviews. Even skeptical Ryan admitted - after the very first use in the dishwasher - that the dishes came out CLEANER than they ever had before, even with something like Cascade. We also use the Ecover soap for handwashing dishes, and they both work really well.

Get some of these for your liquid hand soap. Foamers make the soap last longer, which is nice for you and your pocket book, but they also help keep extra plastic bottles from being used, keeping more of them out of the landfills. They also keep the kiddos from using too much - and the foam makes washing hands a bit more fun and easy (and less messy). You can actually put other kinds of soaps in them, as well - for the shower or other areas in the home. And get those big bags to refill soap bottles...and these will save even more money, plastic bottles, and last quite a long time.

If your neighborhood collects recycling, then there you go. No reason not to join in. It's been made easy for you - simply put the reyclable items in the garbage can for those items instead of the other can. If your neighborhood doesn't collect recycling, like our old apartment complex, you can get containers to collect them and then take them to the recycling center once a week. Sound like tough work? It's not. Really. This is what we used to separate our recycling when we lived in the apartment. There are three different bins that stack and open easily to toss things in. To take them, simply put each container in the car, and drive it on over to the center. Easy peasy. (I can't stand that phrase, but it's true.)

Biodegradable garbage bags?? Yes, there is such a thing. These are great! Order them with the amazon.com's subscribe and save to get free shipping and a discount. When you recycle, you end up with lots less garbage to toss, so the tiny extra cost for these bags aren't even noticeable.

Speaking of bags, get some of those reusable ones for your groceries. Everywhere sells them, usually for 99 cents or so. I like the ones from Whole Foods that are made from other recycled plastic bags. And in case you always forget them, put one of these in your car/purse/diaper bag (that's where my extra is). We put the bags in a location we will see when on our way out the door - and a couple left in the car, too. After a while, it becomes second nature. And keep in mind, this doesn't just go for groceries...but any kind of shopping!

Ok, getting kind of personal here... But for the ladies, try using the Diva Cup instead of tampons/pads. Why? None of the chemicals/bleaching agents (yes, those are in tampons/pads...which go where?! Exactly...), they're reusable (not gross - you clean them, duh), and save a TON of money and keep a TON of tampons/pads from landfills (which IS totally gross...think about it!). Find out more info here. Please try it. You'll never look back.

In line with that, check this facial cleansing method out, too. I've been doing this since I first became pregnant with Aiden. Save $$, do good for your face, improve your skin quality, quit using harsh cleansers that aren't good for you anyway, and reduce waste (get rid of many other items you use with this one method). Try it for a month and then see what you think. Don't knock it till you've tried it.

Groceries... Buy local and organic when you can. Why? Save the earth from some of that fuel. Support local sources. And help keep some of those pesticides from being used - from the earth and from the food that goes into your mouth. When you can't do both...try to decide which is more important. Check out this site to see what the Dirty Dozen are (the top foods to buy organic b/c they are most affected by those nasty pesticides) and the Clean 15, those lowest in pesticides. Try to buy the Dirty Dozen foods organic when possible. Have a local farmer's market - visit it!! You'll get fresher items at a great price. (But not always organic, so decide which is more important.)

Diapers - go cloth. It's easier than you probably think. And there are so many styles and types available! I assure you, these are not the cloth diapers your mama (or grandmother or greatgrandmother...) used. Not ready for that kind of leap? Try gdiapers. Biodegradable insert, non-plastic liners, no chemicals or bleaching agents (yes, those are in disposable diapers...the part that goes against babies bum)...better for baby and the earth. Can't lose there. We actually use cloth liners in our gdiapers. It's a great method b/c we can switch to the flushable inserts if we need to for some reason, which doesn't happen often but it a nice option to have. Another thing you can do...use cloth wipes. We add our own soap solution to help clean baby's bum, but you can just use water. Disposable wipes include fragrances and other ingredients that can actually irritate, while we choose what we use with the cloth. And cloth is super cheap.

Outside, we use recycled rubber mulch in our flower bed. Sure, it may cost a bit more upfront than other store bought mulches, but it doesn't need to be replaced as often, so it lasts much longer. The color doesn't fade. It's ecofriendly and looks great!

Paper towels. We still use them some but barely. We reuse washcloths and towels. Easy.

Food - buy in bulk instead of smaller packaging. Instead of getting individually packaged items, like snack pouches, juice boxes, small yogurts, water bottles...buy those in larger quantities and divide them up in reusable containers, especially when packing a lunch, like both Camden and Ryan do each day. Not only will that save money, but it keeps the extra packaging from the landfills. Also...cook! Buying less premade foods, prepackaged, and processed foods is less costly, better for you, and better for the environment.

Baby food - make your own! Not only is it very healthy, and you get to have complete control over what you feed your little one, but there are many benefits. You can use all organic foods and still pay less than buying already made baby foods. You have fresher food. Many think babies that eat homemade baby food eat a better variety and aren't as picky, as well. That's been true for us (and I have my first child that was fed baby food to compare, too). You don't have to deal with all those little jars/plastic containers, as well. Your baby, your pocketbook, and the earth will thank you. You don't need those books with fancy "recipes." Just steam and puree or mash. Some foods..you just mash. ;) Here is a great website for tips; we used this site a lot.

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I know there are more things we do. Some of it has become second nature at this point. Little things here and there easily become habit. Now it's your turn.... Please share some things you do, little or big! And then be sure to head on over to these sites to check out more about climate change.

EPA - http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/

We Add Up - enter the huge giveaway that includes tons of awesome prizes... http://www.weaddup.com/climategiveaway

Blog Action Day - find other blog posts and learn what BAD '09 is all about http://www.blogactionday.org/

Looking forward to seeing your comments and tips!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mean, mean eggs

I've been baking up a storm lately. Seriously. Quite the storm. And I feel so, so bad not being able to share all the goodies with Aiden. (Yes, I am strict about what kinds of foods we buy and how much sugar is in them, but I'm a little different when they are homemade goodies...where I get to choose what is in them and how much. I'm the mom. I get to do that.) Since we know he's allergic to eggs but not to what extent...NO eggs until we go back to the allergist and do some testing or find out more. The appointment with the pediatric allergist isn't for another couple weeks. I'm always wondering...will it be ok for him to have eggs that are in baked goods? Or other dishes? What's the real extent of this problem??

So, today...I took matters into my own hands. Nooooo - I did not feed the boy anything. I recently made some pumpkin muffins. I wiped some of a muffin on my fingertip, swiped that onto his cheek, and then even wiped his cheek a bit with a cloth to get off any crumbs. Even then...(that's like minimal food actually getting onto his face!)...he still immediately broke out in hives on the spot the muffin touched. It looked just like it did with the raw egg white test. Not milder at all. I then washed his face with soap. The hives stayed for well over an hour, though. (Thank God he doesn't seem to get irritated from them.)

This is not good news. Not what we wanted to see. This makes things even more difficult. Booooo. That's what I have to say about that. Boooooo.

Oh, and we found out why he broke out when he had a taste of the chicken in (the world's most awesome) chicken salad from Whole Foods some time ago (before we knew about the egg allergy). Mayonnaise! Guess what's in mayonnaise, folks...eggs, that's what. So, while eggs are not listed as an ingredient...there they are. (On a side note, while Whole Food's Sonoma Chicken Salad seriously is probably the best ever, it's also not cheap. After buying some the other day, I found the recipe on their website. I'm definitely making this stuff. Yum-O. Just none for Aiden. Unless I find some egg-free Mayo.)

Guess I'll need to research egg substitutes more. And actually learn how to use them.

Now I'll go finish some other muffins I'm making. Ones that happen to be egg free!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fourteen Months

This has, of course, been another big month for Aiden. Don't I always say that? But this month has been a month full of development with communication, for one thing. It seems like Aiden is learning so much and wanting to learn so much more.

Favorite things:
  • Cars. And how do they suddenly know to make the car sound? It was like the very first time he decided to pick up a car and roll it...he also knew that the car went "vrrrr." Crazy.
  • Reading. Aiden has always loved books, but over the past few months, he's been too busy to sit long enough to do anything other than quickly flip through a couple pages. Now, he brings a book to me, and then sits down on the floor - regardless of where we are - to listen to the whole thing. And he does this over. And over. And over. All day long. (He doesn't understand...wait - Mommy's cooking. Wait - Mommy's doing laundry. Wait - Mommy's cleaning the food you threw on the floor. He expects it now.)
  • Flowers. He loves stopping to smell flowers outside. Anytime he sees a flower, he goes over to it, leans over, and makes a loud sniffing noise. I have a hard time getting him away from the porches because he wants to stop and play with the flowers.
  • Music. He has now discovered other sources of music in the house, such as the radio in our bedroom. As soon as he wakes up in the morning, he starts signing for music. Anytime he is in my bedroom, he asks for it. And he asks for music downstairs all the time, too. Loves music...and dancing to it, as well!
  • His toothbrush! I wouldn't be surprised if this child grew up to be a dentist. This is another thing he asks for ALL THE TIME. For one, it will reach back to where those molars are, so he can teeth on the toothbrush some. But he also just likes to brush his teeth. We actually do not leave the house without a toothbrush these days. He really likes it that much. He also likes teeth. He's been sticking (forcing is more like it) his fingers in my mouth to touch my teeth - fun times. (And he says "teeth" while he does it. He also says "toothbrush," though it sounds more like "oosh-uosh.")

Aiden with his "play" toothbrush (the one for cleaning is not for playing!)
He is showing where his teeth are.

  • Baby Signing Time. He doesn't actually sit through a whole video at a time, which is fine by us, but he asks for it all the time (though he only gets it about once a day - twice if it's been a long day!), and he will stop what he's doing for certain songs.
  • Grabbing at things from the table or computer desk. This means we have to watch how close things are to the edge. He doesn't see what he's getting...he just knows he wants to find out what he CAN grab.
  • Strolling. We go for walks around the neighborhood most days after taking Camden to school. Aiden likes it because I point out all the things we see and sign them and sing about them. There is a song on one of the Signing Time videos called Strollin' - and it's about the trees, grass, flowers, etc that you see while out in the stroller. There are also songs about the weather, so we sing the ones that have to do with what we see and what the weather is like that day. The funny thing is I can ask Aiden if he wants to go for a walk, and he doesn't do much. But if I ask if he wants to go "strolling"...he gets all kinds of excited. He makes the connection with the song in the video.
  • Being outside! He's constantly going to the back door and looking out - then signing "outside" because that's where he wants to be!

How I LOVE this kid...

Least favorite things:
  • Being taken away from Mommy when he wants to nurse. You want to see him get MAD...do that.
  • Certain textures of food. It's not that he throws a fit or anything, but his new thing is not wanting to eat certain things (that he loved before, of course). Mostly meats and things that are harder to chew - I wonder if it has something to do with his molars being in and the food feels differently in his mouth now that there is less room...? Anyway, he will put the food in his mouth, make this whispery "bleh" sound (that is HILARIOUS, by the way - so hard not to laugh, but we don't!), and take it back out and set it on his tray. It's funny how foods he has always loved are suddenly no good anymore. Kids are silly. And finicky. He discovered he loved pomegranate, then one day, he spit it out and wouldn't touch it; the next day he loved it again...
  • Having something he wants taken away. (Ummm...duh.) Kid's got a tight grip! (I'm having a hard time coming up with the things he doesn't like...can you tell?)

Aiden showing where his toes are.

New developments this month:
This month has seen an explosion of new developments!!
  • Talking. Let me try to list all the words he now says (I might miss a couple)... Hi, bye, dada, mama (doesn't happen nearly as much as dada, but he does call me that sometimes - usually when he really wants to nurse!), cheese, juice, tries to say teeth/toothbrush (both sound similar, but I can tell the difference), trees, he's said please a couple times... That might be it. He also calls socks "shoes." In fact, he insists they are called shoes when I try to tell him they are socks.
  • Animal sounds. He's been saying "quack, quack" for duck for a while. We went to a small farm with animals over the weekend, and he was also saying "baa baa" for the sheep and goats. I also have this magnet with two tigers; he loves it and I told him ONE time that the tigers go "roar"...and now whenever he has the magnet, he makes this cute, whispery "rehr" sound. Back to the ducks, though...he LOVES ducks. I'm not sure where that came from, but he loves them.
  • Signing. Seriously - this is just awesome. If you have considered signing even just a few words with your baby...do it! In fact, do more of it. They pick it up so easily; it's crazy. I'm going to post soon about the signing just on its own, but Aiden is now signing more than 25 words. There are also 5 additional new ones that he is trying and partly has. And then there are even more he understands but doesn't sign yet. There are probably more than he can do that I don't even know about. Today, when reading, he suddenly showed me banana, cat, and boat when he saw the pictures - I had no clue he could do those! I do them, but he just hadn't done them back yet.
  • He's learning how to manipulate things and control his movements. For example, he can stack a couple blocks on top of each other. He gets a little frustrated when it doesn't work and the tower falls. (The blocks we have are actually really smooth and kind of slippery, in all fairness.) But when he gets it, you can tell he is very proud of his accomplishment, and he claps along with us, grinning!
  • Running. This child not only walks...he RUNS.
  • Not sure where this fits in, but today, I showed him once how to do a high five. Since then, whenever we say "high five!" - he does it! And thinks it is so much fun and is so proud of himself for doing it.
  • Naps...we're working on transitioning from two naps to one a day. Basically, he just takes the one, but if it happens to be in the morning...he doesn't take an afternoon one, and then evenings are not too much fun. If we don't have much going on, I can usually keep him up to take one afternoon nap, but if we're out and about...he might fall asleep in the car, and that is never what I want. The other problem with going to just one nap is that he doesn't combine the two! He was sleeping for about an hour and 15 minutes in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. On a one-nap day...it's still just about an hour or so regardless of whether he falls asleep by 10:30am or 1:30pm! We're working on it. (Well, I'M working on it. One hour a day is NOT enough for him.)
  • I've already mentioned the reading...but I think it says a lot that he is suddenly sitting down for entire stories. And then asking you to read it again. And again. And these aren't just baby board books. No. Some are longer books meant for five-year-olds! His favorite is Big Words for Little People by Jamie Lee Curtis (LOVE her books!). And the funny thing is...this literally just changed overnight one night!

Aiden flipping through his Big Words for Little People book. I love how intense his expression is.
  • Aiden is also working on feeding himself with a spoon or fork. I put the food on the utensil, and he'll feed himself. If I let him put the spoon back into the food...he ends up putting it in and out, in and out because that's fun to do on its own. Some foods are becoming impossible to use because they're too thin for him to feed to himself, and he usually wants to try and might not let me feed him if he can't do some, too. (We usually have two spoons...one for him and one for mama.)
  • We have successfully taught Aiden to "say" please when he wants something. I wondered at what age this would really be fair to expect, but went with it anyway. After just a couple days of guiding him through the sign and explaining "you sign please and mommy will give it to you"...he got it! He now signs please when he wants something. He signs it over and over if he really wants it! If he's reaching for something and hasn't signed it on his own, we can simply ask "what do you say?" - and he signs please! If he wants a toy turned on, he'll come to me, stick the toy out to me, and will sign please, all the while making cute puppy-dog eyes that I wouldn't be able to resist anyway. (Seriously, don't wait until your kids can talk to teach them these things! They can get it now.) He's even trying to say it now, as well. And yes, he sometimes is told "no." He doesn't always get what he wants just because he signs please. We're working on "thank you," but that one seems to be taking longer. I think it is a little more difficult to grasp because with please, we could wait for him to sign before giving him what he wanted. With "thank you," it's after the fact...but he'll get it.

Aiden being silly. He will say "dadadadada" very quickly and loudly, while squinting
and making a funny face. It is hilarious!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

More Yogurt Stuff, etc.

After posting about baby yogurt last night, I wondered if anyone might feel offended by what I was saying about me not wanting to feed Aiden the yogurts that are made for babies. I haven't been told by anyone that I offended them or that they disagreed with me, BUT I just wanted to be sure that I commented on the possibility. In no way do I mean to offend or say that there is anything wrong with feeding your child the baby yogurts. No way. At all. In fact, if you do use baby yogurts or ANY yogurt, for that matter, I think that's great. Healthy stuff.

My post was merely to say why we don't want to use it just yet and why we prefer to make Aiden's yogurt with plain yogurt and our own fruits, etc. We're trying to steer clear of added sugar for as long as possible. Heck, I scrutinize everything I give Camden, as well, and he's ten. I'm not one of those mommies that allows fruit roll-ups in the house or gives juice that's not 100%. That's just how we roll in our home. I was raised that way - to read the labels and pay attention to the sugar, especially. Camden is even becoming quite the label reader, too. And if Aiden loves the way we fix yogurt now, there's just no reason to change it and give him something with more sugar. So, I wanted to share what we DO do. I'm fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with him and have a little more time to spend on those types of things, too.

It's funny...I've always been somewhat health conscious when it comes to what I eat, and I've always preferred to make things homemade over buying processed foods. But there is something about this child being born at this time that has really shaken up how we do things and how we think about food. We're so much more aware of what we are eating, what is in it, where it comes from, how we fix it...everything. We're doing a lot of things differently. Some of it is stuff I have been wanting to change, but having a baby makes you more proactive (and gets Daddy to agree a little more, too, especially with buying more organic...which can SOMETIMES mean more expensive - wink, wink). Some things changed when I became pregnant, but since Aiden has been eating table foods more and more has changed, and we are getting more into this whole natural, organic, local movement.

But please don't take offense and think that I think you're doing anything wrong if you are not. Because I don't feel that way or mean to come across in a way that would show that. What I think about anyone else's parenting really isn't that important anyway, but even so...I don't mean any offense. :) Just wanted to get that out there.