Saturday, September 25, 2010


Carson Jared. Wanted for excessive chocolate chip waffle eating, constant drool, destruction of various shirts with food stains, frequent juice spillage, and unforgivable cuteness. Consider him to be armed and dangerous with little boy charm.

Egg Free, Milk Free, Peanut Free Waffle Victory!

When Carson was diagnosed with food allergies last week I immediately started scouring the internet for waffle recipes. This boy loves waffles and was none too pleased when he didn't find his morning waffle waiting for him the next morning. The egg free waffles that I made over the week end were not fit for a dog and we obviously couldn't feed him his normal waffles. I mean they don't call them EGGO waffles for nothing! I was stumped. I just kept searching and then.....Victory! I came across this wonderful lady's site, Food Allergy Mama. She specializes in baked goods for kids with food allergies. And she lives in a suburb outside of Chicago which is where I grew up so I knew she was "good people." And what's more she has this amazing recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip Waffles. I made them on Tuesday night  and I ate one and the first thing I thought was, these are too rich to give to Carson. Yes, they were that good! The trouble with using Chocolate chips is that #1 they usually have milk in them and #2 they are usually made in a place that produces peanut products. I found these wonderful chocolate chips made by Enjoy Life! at Sprouts that are free from all 8 common food allergens AND are produced in a dedicated plant that is peanut free. And the bonus is that they taste like the real thing! No lie. My greatest triumph this week was when Jared sent me the following text the next morning, "All I can say is Carson devoured that waffle! He loved it! Good job Mommy!" I cried little happy tears at my desk. I had solved the waffle challenge. Side note: I substituted the soy milk in the recipe for Almond milk which he loves and is drinking straight from the glass (never did that before with Cow's milk!). He also loves the substitute cheese that we are putting on his quesadillas. It is rice based and made by Daiya. It is shredded and melts like the real thing. I am discovering that with a little research on the internet,a  little creativity, and a little help from Sprouts (love that place!)  eating well with food allergies is definitely doable.

Friday, September 24, 2010

There's a New Blogger in Town

My husband Jared just started a blog very aptly named Just Roughnecking It! He plans to write about his experiences working on a rig and living half of his year in lovely West Texas. Go HERE to check out his first post. Love that guy!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Work Like Noone Else Today...

So you can live like no one else later.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Adventures in Self Timing

My kids love the self time function on my camera. They hear the beeps and then the race is on to get in place. They think it's a very fun game and always want to check and see how the shots turned out. Here are some takes from our photo session yesterday. Some turned out quite good and then some illustrate my point of the race.


First Day of YCW

No they are not in a line up. These are some pictures Jared took on their first day of YCW. These make me laugh so hard. Especially Carson's expression. He looks like he is posing for a mug shot. Despite their look here they are loving it and adjusting very well.

This is the mugshot one I was talking about. Love this one. Typical Kate surveying the scene before she plunges in.

Teacher Girl

Can you tell that Kate has started school? Yesterday she sat on her little pink bench and wanted us to sit in front of her. Then she would "read"  a page of the book and then flip it around so that we could see the pictures. I loved it!

A Dollhouse Returns

My Mom and Dad bought me this amazing dollhouse when I was a little girl. I don't know how they did it, but the wallpaper in some of the rooms actually matched the wallpaper in our house but in a miniature version. It was amazing and I loved playing with it. They would always add on here and there with new furniture and accessories. Well, it has been hanging out in our garage for the last 4 years or so and last time Jared he was home he decided to take it out and clean it up. Although there is no furniture in it (maybe it was foreclosed on? Sorry bad mortgage humor) the kids love that you can look in the windows and see the other side. I snapped these photos of them investigating it the other day.

I Call This One

"Now what gave you the crazy idea that I had chocolate?"

What Once Was a Mystery.......

Carson has had tummy troubles for the majority of his 20 months of life. Looking back it started when we put him on formula. His bottles were always hit or miss. And sometimes they Hit us. All over our clothes if you know what I mean. A happy spitter we called him. Never seemed to bother him. When we graduated to cows milk at one year it got even more disgusting. We decided cow's milk just wasn't for him and switched him to juice. Solids were also hit or miss. Sometimes he would be fine and then at other times...not so fine. And even though our frustration grew I know it could not compare to what he felt. A sweet solid boy with the appetite of someone twice his size relegated to rice cereal because that's all that was "safe" for him. So being slow to catch on I realized something was a foot here. Mentioning it to his pediatrician she immediately diagnosed, "Reflux" matter of factedly and sent us on our way with an acid reducer. In my heart of hearts I knew that couldn't be it but trusting medical expertise over my own I reluctantly said ok and gave my baby the acid reducer. Some improvement resulted for a short time and then it was back to the same old problems. When I took him for his 18 month well check and was informed that his weight hadn't budged over his 21 pound mark 6 months ago I knew it was time to investigate. One thing was holding us back. Our crappy insurance. It was bad. In Carson's situation we were pretty much paying out of pocket for everything. It stunk! I went ahead and requested an upper GI to make sure there was nothing complicated going on and that test came back normal. When I would tell people about Carson's problems they would immediately suspect a wheat or gluten allergy. But judging from the amount of waffles this boy was eating (another safe food) I highly doubted it. It turns out my doubt was only half right. But it did get me thinking about more in the realm of food allergies. In July when our insurance went from crappy to not so crappy I decided it was time to find out what this was. I got a referral to a pediatric gastroenterologist. The doc was a nice enough guy. He wanted to do two things, test his blood for allergies and then do an endoscopy (basically put a little camera down his throat under general anethesia). He suspected Carson had a condition that causes a swollen esophagus from allergic reactions to foods thereby making the food harder to pass through. The endoscopy sounded a little drastic to us and when the insurance lady called me up quoting a $7300 price tag I knew it was too drastic. I called the doc to see if we could just see what his blood test showed and then go from there. He agreed. Last friday his blood results came back and it turns out our little boy is allergic to the following: Soy, peanut, cow's milk, and eggs. On a scale of 1 to 5 he is at a 3 for eggs, a 2 for peanut and cow's milk and a 1 for soy. So all those waffles he has been eating? yeah, not a good thing at all. His food allergy isn't what I thought. I think food allergy and I think immediate, stopped breathing, Epipen! His is more of a gradual build up and when his little tummy can't take it anymore he flairs up. But I have seen an immediate reaction. Both times that I have fixed him french toast he has started hitting his ears and cried uncontrollably and not that I think about it he was a little short of breath. Duh! I dipped the bread DIRECTLY into eggs! So as we go about systematically eliminating these foods from his diets I am learning a whole new world. Milk is in a lot of stuff and a lot of labels will look good until you get to the end and it says, "Manufactured in a plant with peanuts. " that's a no go! And cheese quesadillas are out unless I can find a suitable milk free, soy free cheese substitute which I am sure will taste wonderful! I am switching him to cereal and oatmeal for breakfast because I tried to make him egg free waffles last night and they were not fit to eat. Thankfully his new fave chicken nuggets are A-ok and any fruits are a good thing so I am finding it is easier than most food allergies. All of this aside I am so relieved to finally MAYBE be on the road to helping Carson to feel better. There are not a whole lot of things more frustrating than trying to figure out why your baby is sick. They can't tell you and that is the challenge. I am just hoping and praying that his little tummy will finally be at rest with these changes we will make. For now it's a waiting game.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


This past week end was a really good week end. We went to Austin for my sister in law's baby shower. Kate and I play this game about people we have seen that day or people we are about to see. She will say a name and then I will say "And..." and then she will fill in the next name. I was smiling ear to ear as we ticked off the people that we would see. Mimi (my mom), Bear (my Dad), Honey (Robin), Brig (bro) Burke (bro) Caden (nephew) Tabor (nephew) Kelly (sis in law) Stacey (sis in law). My oldest brother and his brood were not able to make it but there was something about this week end that was very special to me. I noticed a shift in our family. A good one.
My parents have been divorced for 8 years this December. Divorce stinks. I always say that and I don't mean to make light of it. I don't care if you are 5 or 35 it just sucks. For a long time my family has had this sort of awkwardness about it. Only seeing my Dad with out my Mom and vice versa is just plain weird when you have been used to seeing them together for almost 30 years. But last Saturday night it was different. We all met at Dave and Busters after the shower for dinner. We all sat down together at a huge table and talked and laughed and had a great time. My mom, my dad and his wife Robin and all of the kids and grand kids. Besides my brother Benjy and his family who were unable to be there, we were all actually together. I looked around and had this feeling of contentment that I hadn't had in a long time about our family. Don't misunderstand, it was never that contentious. My parents rarely played games in their divorce. Never tried to pit us against either one. They always made it easy on all of us. My Mom has been especially graceful about this. I realized just how graceful on Saturday night. There she sat talking to Robin, who is an extremely kind and gracious lady herself. They shared a dinner and played cards together. Something about that just struck me as being so kind of both of them. They have never had a cross word between them but I think it's fair to say there has been awkwardness. But Saturday night it was better. In a divorce the parents take the control no matter how old the kids are. They can choose to make things easier for the kids or they can choose to be selfish by constantly bickering. I'm so blessed that my parents took the high road. Last Saturday I sat back in my chair and thought, so this is a blended family. This is our family's future. This is what my kids have to look forward to as they grow up. And then I thanked God for making this possible. For seeing us all through on this journey. For loving us all through our anger, tears, guilt, blame, hurt, and sadness. For seeing us all through to the other side so that we could have a night like last Saturday night.  

Sunday, September 12, 2010


So even though my sewing time has been greatly diminished (oh how I miss my nap sewing time everyday),  I have still found time to create. I have to definitely limit myself. I used to have 4 or 5 things going at once but now I have to prioritize. Here are some things that I have managed to complete.

I created this quilt for my friend's little boy that was just born. I appliqued his initials on it and barely got finished with it before he was born.

I finished Kate's nap mat in the nick of time even though I started on it way before I started back to work. I love the fabric that I finally picked out for it. Kind of sophisticated for a 2 year old but I think my girl can pull it off.

I also made 10 pillowcases over the last week to give to an organization called Conkerr Cancer. Their mission is to give a pillowcase to every seriously ill child in North America by 2012. I love the story behind their Miles of Pillowcase Smile mission. Please click on their  link to read it.

I just finished making another sock monkey for my neice Marin who is due Christmas Eve. I loved making this for her. I didn't get a picture of it but it is very similar to this one:

Next up I am focusing on a quilt I have wanted to make for a long time. I found the idea on HERE. I am just hoping I have the patience to follow it through to the end. I also really want to make a brown dress for Kate with some white contrast. I am pacing myself but still love the relaxtion that comes from sewing and so thankful that I found this hobby.

Monday, September 6, 2010

My Man


Pure Pictures

Kate's finished nap mat

God has said, "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Hebrews 13:5-6