Home          Green Living          Crafts          Parenting

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Green Cleaning Tip of the Day: Stinky Laundry

Are you like me when it comes to doing laundry? You know, you wake up intent on getting all of the laundry done, and then on that last load everything just falls apart and you get exhausted and just forget to put it in the dryer? Then a few days later you start wondering what that smell is in the laundry room?

What do you do in those situations? I mean, just re-washing them still leaves the clothes with a bit of a musty smell that you don't notice until you get dressed.  I've learned a trick that I think can help!

Now, when I forget that last load of clothes for more than a few hours, I re-run the machine (at least a rinse) with warm water, a splash of distilled white vinegar, and a drop or two of your favorite essential oil-I use Eucalyptus.  Works every time.

Hope this helps someone else like me!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Featured Guest Writer!

This past month, I contacted another mommy blogger on Twitter who was looking for guest writers on her blog.  I've never done a guest post before and thought it might be fun.
TFTC button

Tales From The Crib is all about stories from the front lines of motherhood.  It will include birth stories, sick stories, funny stories, learning experiences, the works.  I chose to include my birth story for all to read. You can check out all of the Tales From The Crib posts by clicking the picture above.  My story is here.

When I Said "Traveling", This Isn't What I was Talking About

As many of you know, we recently visited family in Texas for a week.  We do this pretty frequently, actually.  I think this was our third trip to Texas in two-and-a-half years.  We've also flown a couple of times to California in that time as well.  That's it.

This luggage was part of our wedding registry.  When picking it out, I had just come back from a month-long trip to Europe, in which I spent 2 weeks in Dusseldorf, Germany, and two weeks in Cabo Roig, Spain.  During that time, my old luggage went through hell and back.  I got it off the baggage carousel in Houston with a bent frame, a gimpy wheel, and writing from top to bottom (from various bus drivers and customs workers).  The luggage I brought on that trip was fairly cheap and rather small for a month-long vacation.  So, I registered for this set with all of our future travels to far-away countries in mind.

As you can probably guess, that's not really what happened.  Instead what happened was we got married, found out Willie was leaving the Air Force, got pregnant, and moved across country flat broke.  All within 6 months (give or take).

Now, all of our traveling revolves around college schedules, cheapest flying times, and holidays.  We go to two places.  Places we've seen a million times before.  Places we know like the back our our hand...or at least we used to.  The point is, it's nothing new.  It's nothing exciting.  I always swore we'd travel a lot. I wanted to see everything. Everywhere.  What happened to that?

Why am I not drinking Sangria in Spain or touring the Louvre or eating real Chinese food?

I'm nostalgic for that life.  I love the life I have, but I miss the life I almost had.  I want to take Addie with me there.  I want to take Willie, too.  Yet again, here we are, left waiting for our lives to start. Waiting for school to be over. Waiting for things to get a little easier.  A little more fun.

When I registered for these suitcases with traveling in mind, this isn't exactly what I meant, but it's what I got.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

It's Like the End of an Era

This past week, while vacationing in Crystal Beach, Texas, my actions changed the face of my marriage forever.


Playing in the sand with Addie, holding Willie's ring on my thumb (against my better judgment) while he swam in the waves, I dropped the ring.

All of a sudden realized it was gone.  I don't even know the exact moment it dropped. I just suddenly realized it was no longer on my thumb.

It's symbolic, in a way.

We met on Crystal Beach.

Fell in love on Crystal Beach. 

Our parents were introduced on Crystal Beach.

We spent our wedding weekend on Crystal Beach.

And now....one of the rings we said our vows with is lost on Crystal Beach. 

In a way, I kind of feel like we were always supposed to lose a ring there.

It's the end of an era, in a way. I can't believe that ring only lasted two-and-a-half years. Now I have to search for the perfect ring. Again.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Allery Update #3 - The Allergist

Note: If you are behind in this story, feel free to read the back posts (in this order) here, here, and here.


I'm a bit late writing this post, but life has been hectic this week.  Understandably, I hope.

Thursday was our appointment with the allergist.  We had had several phone talks with our pediatrician and the receptionist at the allergists office between getting the results on Monday and arriving at our appointment on Thursday morning.  Wednesday night I filled out five pages worth of forms to bring in to the doctor, and read all of their new patient directions-which included not using a strong smelling soap, keeping Addie in short sleeves, giving her a good beakfast, and preparing to spend 2.5-3 hours in the office between skin testing and consultation.

I barely slept Wednesday night stressing out about the testing and the results we may find.  To be honest, everything was still very mind-boggling.  Peanut allergies, egg white allergies, getting rid of our cats, epi pens...all of it was pretty jumbled in my mind.

At the appointment, we talked for a good 10-15 minutes about symptoms I've noticed, foods that she reacts to (which is hard to say since it seems so totally random), and what we've done so far.  Unfortunately (well, fortunately, but not in this instance),  Addie was clearer than we had seen her in weeks!  I say unfortunately, because the doctor couldn't see any rashes other than the small rough spot on her chin that was still healing.
Luckily, he eliminated three foods right off the bat.  According to our initial chat, we do not need to be concerned with peas, potatoes, or rice unless we start noticing symptoms. As far as I can tell, she's always eaten those with no problems (although like I've said, it's hard to tell sometimes when she's breaking out and why because she was always broken out).

He did tell us to cut out all peanut products until she is 3, and then we will re-visit that one and see if anything has changed.  Note to all parents, according to him you are supposed to wait until age 3 to introduce it at all.  I knew it was an allergen, but I thought they were all okay to introduce at 1 if you had no history of allergies.

After that, he told me he really did not see the need currently to do a skin test.  All of her symptoms appear to be skin related, so we can try diagnosing the other allergies using food challenges.  He thinks the most important food to test first is egg whites.  That means no eggs or products made with eggs.  It will be hard, but I hope it gives us a better idea at what we're looking at.  To be totally honest though, I'm a bit jaded against the idea of a food challenge now since our last food challenge left me so sure that it was onion, or garlic, or both.

That does, in some ways, make sense though.  After closer examination, most of the products we noticed a reaction with also had soy as an ingredient.  In fact, most processed foods do. Unfortunately, the allergist doesn't feel that soy is causing the rashes-at least not all of them.  Apparently, the levels for soy were so low it's unlikely they are causing any symptoms.  That and the fact that we've given Addie edamame (soy beans), and served foods with soy sauce with seemingly no reaction.

I still really feel in my gut that there is something to this soy allergy.  Maybe it's not all of it, but it has to be some of it.  After the appointment, I gave Addie some fig newtons. Now, keep in mind her skin is clearer than I have almost ever seen it, so even the slightest reaction is visible, and she did have a slight reaction to the fig newtons.  I've spoken with a few people now that cannot eat soy as an ingredient in processed foods, but do fine with soy in it's natural state-such as soy beans or soy sauce.  It just means anything is possible.

Bottom line, the allergist appointment was someone disappointing, but also a relief. I felt like I was running as fast as I could toward the edge of a cliff all week, but was pulled back at the very last second.  I left feeling somewhat deflated.  All that preparation-mentally and physically-for a 15 minute chat with a doctor that didn't feel there was an immediate need for action.

I was so looking forward to leaving there with solid answers. I wanted to be able to just stop giving Addie the foods that are making her miserable.  I wanted to be done.

Something good did come from the appointment, though.  I'm calmer.  The doctor sees no need for immediate action.  Her allergies are not severe.  Due to this sudden calmness, I've been able to channel my subconscious and really figure out how I feel about all of this.  I've got an action plan.  For now, we're limiting both foods-soy and egg white-and keeping an eye to see what causes reactions.  I'm reading all labels and familiarizing myself with the foods we eat a little more so that when we are ready to do the food challenges in a couple of weeks, there will be fewer slip ups than last time.  Once we get back from visiting family, I'll deal with the rest.  I'll start food challenges.  I'll deal with rashes and a wakeful toddler. I'll cry with her if she gets rashy enough to scratch herself bloody again, or gets hives again.  For now, though, I'm okay with all of this.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Allergy Update #2 - The Test, and the Results

Well, today was the day we've been waiting for.  If you haven't been following my tweets, then here is a little back story for you:

We finally found Addie a new pediatrician-inadvertently we chose an allergy specialist-and got an appointment for this last Thursday.  While I was there I brought up our issues with food and my thoughts on allergies.  I told her all about the rashes, showed her the one around her mouth that is clearing up, and talked about my frustrations with our old pediatrician.  She told me we could get Addie's blood drawn in the lab connected with her office before we left!  I was so relieved and so scared at the same time.

The blood draw was traumatizing for all of us even though the phlebotomist was great with Addie.  I was told we would have the results by Monday (today).  I waited all weekend with bated breath until this morning...which is where this blog picks up.

Our new pediatrician called us this morning (yes! The pediatrician herself called me! Not a nurse or receptionist!) She said she was actually still waiting on the results for the onion and garlic test since those had to be added on separately, but that she wanted to call and update me because Addie apparently has quite a list of allergies already back.

So, here it is, she is highly allergic to the following:
Peanut (what?! seriously?!)
Cats (Our cat is a special needs cat-think we can get someone to take him in?!)

She is Moderately allergic to:
Egg Whites

The following came back in the Low category:
Cod Fish
White Beans

According to the pediatrician, the allergists appointment should narrow this list down some.  She said a lot of the time when kids come back with long lists like this, it can mean a kind of "false positive".  I guess a lot of times your body can show the antibodies for these things but when you are exposed, you don't actually show symptoms.

Nevertheless, an epi-pen was prescribed to us and we were referred to the allergists office.  I called and made an appointment expecting to not have any answers in time for our upcoming trip, but they were able to get us in this week! Even better, although we'll be in the office for 2.5 hours, we'll walk out with test results!

I'll update again when I have more answers.  Right now we're still all processing this information.  It's a lot to take in considering we didn't have any known food allergies in either of our families.

Friday, June 4, 2010

What Do You Do With a Cling-On Toddler?

*Disclaimer: this is a totally random post. It probably does not make much sense, but my brain is mush today. Don't read it if you don't want to hear me vent about my week!*

I'd really love to know!  What do you do when your toddler won't let you walk two steps away? When she won't eat, or sleep, or play, or watch TV?

This past week has been insane over here!  Must be another regression of sorts.

Maybe it's her teeth. I don't know.  I honestly can't even think clearly anymore! When she's awake, 100% of my attention is devoted to her. Carrying her. Reading to her. Cuddling with her. Talking to her. Feeding her.  Yes.  Spoon feeding my 18 month old daughter. 

She's not sick. We just had her 18-month check up yesterday morning and she's totally fine.  She is teething.  She also just went through a growth spurt a week and a half ago. 

So, what do you do when your toddler turns into a cling-on? First off, you get really good at walking around stores with an extra 25 pounds trying to escape from your body.  Second, you find anything and everything to entertain them.  Today Addie got to try her hand at photography.

Not bad, right?

She's also been helping me cook.  A lot.  Spending time with her BFF (Best Friend Forever) has been a lifesaver, but now they are out of town for two whole weeks!

We're going to try some new crafts this afternoon.  I'm thinking home-made play-doh!  Anything to distract her from whatever it is that's bothering her.

We're also working on a new routine to hopefully make our days a bit easier.  So far it has definitely helped with her new strategy of fighting bed time (screaming and hollering to let me know she's angry). 

The thing is, I know there's nothing wrong with her.  Absolutely nothing.  She might be teething.  I know a lot of them have been moving under the surface recently, and I thought she cut at least one last week but it still hasn't come through!  She won't let me look in her mouth though, so I don't know what's going on in there.

Anyway, thanks for letting me vent.  If you read this, you're a saint!